Just because it’s happened, doesn’t mean the risk has passed—it’s much higher than it was, and still rising. But there seems to be a collective head turning. Whether people are more focused on the holidays, burnt out by the doom and gloom, or falsely comforted by reports that push the other extreme, we all still need to be watching the situation abroad.
There’s been successes. Nigeria and Senegal were able to halt transmission. The US quarantines seem to be doing well. But overall, things in Africa are still a hot mess. Where Ebola is, transmission is getting worse. There’s infighting between different agencies fighting the epidemic (although locals have come around, and high transmission events like burial customs have changed). And there’s still plenty of shortages—most critically, of things like thermometers (remember, fever is the first sign), and ways to segregate Ebola patients from regular patients.
Experts say with increased effort and focus, the world may be able to come together and end this Ebola outbreak by next summer. But as I said, there are a lot of big obstacles to overcome. The US, for it’s part, has said people claiming protection status here because their countries are infected, can stay for 18 months (usually it’s a few years).
Countries still fighting the Ebola outbreak include Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and now Mali, who’s scrambling to get Ebola cases recognized and a quarantine under effect.
Because of the nature of Ebola, we can’t leave a single person untreated. An area isn’t Ebola free until there’s been 42 days of no cases, and even then, Ebola survivors need to practice caution—sperm, for instance, can still transmit Ebola for months. Currently, a man in India is being quarantined for this exact reason, and the world is closely watching—an outbreak in India could be an even bigger problem.
In the US, we’re still quarantining many people, but there’s a couple of reasons an Ebola case might slip through.
First, many people are outraged that they have to be under quarantine for so long (unable to work or live life), and there’s concern about people coming in and masking where they’ve been to avoid it.
Second, most quarantines are voluntarily enforced, and there have been a few cases of people too special to have to follow all the rules. Either Ebola makes people act irrationally, or fear sets in and some people go a little crazy.
All in all, we have at least, at least another 6-8 months of vigilance here and abroad before Ebola goes away.
If you’ve let it slip from your thoughts, you’ll soon be seeing lots of charities looking to raise money both to fight the disease and bring relief to areas suffering from the epidemic this Christmas.
Are you still following the Ebola outbreak?