Watching Ebola

October 15, 2018

Ebola is one of the most deadly, contagious, scary diseases humans have faced—especially when you factor in how hand washing/basic sanitation, modern medicine, and more that we take for granted have mostly failed against it (although a government study found that colloidal silver worked quite well). The outbreak a few years ago was a wake-up call, and just in time: continuing to keep Ebola contained is proving to be difficult.

The current Ebola outbreak is smack in the middle of a war zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Containing Ebola requires strict quarantine measures which are hard to enforce in the chaos of fighting, it requires money that’s quickly used up, and it requires experts on the ground. To keep Ebola under control, health officials have to be able to track every case. Take the first infection, find out who was exposed, quarantine, treat, find the next case, and repeat. When Ebola patients pop out of nowhere (which is more frequent with the displacement that happens during war) they have to try and figure out “is this still related to patient zero? Or do we have a second line of outbreak to fight?”.

The situation is tenuous. The international Ebola outbreak of a few years ago had someone get on a plane, but not get full symptoms until they’d arrived. If someone manages to fly out of the fighting with symptoms, things could get ugly very quickly.

Early symptoms of Ebola (besides the standard flu-like symptoms) include blood red eyes. If you’re exposed, you have to hope that you’re lucky, since even medical professionals in full hazmat gear have managed to catch Ebola in the past.

Travel smart. Research the areas you’re visiting (not just for disease outbreaks like Ebola or Yellow Fever, but to see if they’re a landing spot for people from infected regions). Keep an eye out for other sick people, and avoid them/care for yourself appropriately.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments:

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