Ebola: 1 Year In

December 15, 2014

Body Suit Hand ShakeAlthough Ebola has only been in US headlines since this summer, the outbreak started almost a year ago.

And it’s been out of headlines again lately—does that mean things are all wrapped up?

Not at all. Sierra Leone still has soaring numbers, and huge planning and infrastructure problems. They are getting 100 new confirmed cases a day, with an estimated 200 more unconfirmed.

Doctors in Sierra Leone are striking, because any who become infected don’t have good care options.

Sierra Leone newspapers are blasting the British, who are leading aid efforts there (US efforts are focused in Liberia).

Remember—before the US got ebola the estimate was that we’d hit near 100% probability by January—we’re almost there, and due for another surprise case.

Liberia, who we have close relations with (that’s where our ebola case came from) is doing really well, but isn’t out of the woods. Officials are worried that if people let their guard down, the outbreak will blossom again.

The message they are getting is this: the outbreak still exists. Don’t let your guard down, don’t resume rituals—not just burial ones, but hugging, kissing, and hand-shakes—and keep an eye out for symptoms and seek early treatment,

It’s a lesson we could apply to ourselves, if not for ebola, for cold and flu season. There are a handful of diseases in addition to ebola—MRSA, bird flu, tuberculosis—that are relatively rare, but should still be on everyone’s radar, because fighting them together is how we stop them.

You can’t control other people, you can only do your own part, keeping yourself healthy, and minimizing who you expose to illness.

Handwashing, resting yourself, supporting your immune system, these are some of the ways you can fight the spread of illness, or at least protect yourself.

Have you continued to follow ebola?

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