For the first time since the outbreak, both European Economic Community and United Nations Commissions are discussing the possibility of the disease becoming an epidemic, or even a pandemic.
Epidemic: a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.
Pandemic: an epidemic that has spread through human populations across a large region; typically affecting more than one continent.
In a sign that West Africa’s Ebola crisis is worsening, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that more than 700 new cases of the deadly virus were confirmed in the last week for which data is available. WHO’s boarded voted unanimously to elevate the outbreak to the status of “Global Health Crisis.”
The number of people killed by the Ebola Virus is approaching 3,000, an increase of roughly 400 from the last estimate, WHO said. Most of the deaths have been in Liberia, the hardest-hit of West African nations plagued by the virus.
The disease has also touched Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal and is believed to have sickened more than 5,800 people, WHO reported. Just under half of those cases were recorded in the last three weeks.
Of those afflicted by the virus, some 318 have been health care workers — about half of whom have died.
France announced on Thursday that it will establish a military hospital in Guinea in the coming days, while Britain said it will provide 500 more badly needed beds in Sierra Leone. The U.S. plans to send 3,000 military personnel to the region and build more than a dozen treatment centers in Liberia. An American general has already arrived in the Liberian capital of Monrovia to set up a command center. Of note, Doctors Without Borders, an organization that has stood in opposition to efforts by nations of this kind, especially when military personnel were part of the aid has endorsed all of these efforts wholeheartedly.
With no proven preventative treatment for Ebola and only partially effective treatments after symptoms present themselves, public health experts have kept the focus on isolating the sick, tracking down those they have come into contact with, stopping the chain of transmission through travel restrictions and by cordoning off entire communities.
well written, sums up the problem.
Does anybody besides me remember the Richard Preston account of Ebola back in the 1990’s called THE HOT ZONE? The bug from that time got progressively weaker with each human it jumped on, until it was unable to get past a healthy human immune system. That doesn’t mean it’s not a threat, but this is a virus we’ve had 20 years to figure out a countermeasure or a vaccine. It would be nice if the US still funded NIH and CDC adequately.
That said, I look at this from the context of global warming, which is already killing five million people a year (primarily in sub-Saharan Africa) due to droughts and deforestation. That number won’t go down anytime soon.
As the water breached to fill our lungs the voice of the yeomen still rang piercing and hollow upon our ears.
“There is nothing to fear. All is well.”
A Future of the Brave
Gentle friends, we are on the precipice of catastrophe. Constantly.
There is a better way.
“A Grand Challenge
My friends, the simple truth is that we are wasting our precious time, resources, intellect, and passion. As a species we are just as aimless today as when our primitive ancestors first ventured out upon this earth.
Today I am proposing that for the first time in human history, we change that.
More than any time in history, humanity needs a grand challenge. Not only to avert its extinction, but also to indelibly etch the common bond of mutual reliance and cooperation on current and future generations.
Fortunately, all of the forces that now seem to conspire against us can quickly be turned to our advantage.
For the first time in human history we actually possess technologies so advanced that any physical problem can potentially be solved.
And yet, I wonder, do we possess the will and wisdom to utilize them for our salvation instead of our destruction?
I propose that we find out.
So today I offer you a radical and stark choice between two future realities.
An aimless future of continued war and conflict, with all its accompanying suffering and death; or a limitless future dedicated to defeating suffering and death itself, with all its accompanying technological advancement and social evolution.
Yes indeed, I have a new plan, for all of you. A plan of hope. A plan of adventure. A plan of such extraordinary magnitude as to take the breath, and challenge the senses, of all who would consider it. A plan to bind our common people in hope, and finally free our conscience for noble purpose.
I propose that in the next three decades we at last end the scourge of human disease upon this earth, and begin the inevitable adventure of humanity’s migration beyond it.
We shall at last unlock the fundamental secrets of our biology so we may conquer any illness or defect at will, and we shall free ourselves from the bonds of our native home so we may evade global calamities, and begin the expansion of our species beyond this world.
No longer shall our survival be dependent upon the random and dispassionate forces of nature. No longer shall we quiver in anguish as we helplessly watch those we love suffer and die in agony from an endless list of human disease and dysfunction. No longer shall our globe be divided in constant turmoil and conflict while the hammer of fate hangs precariously balanced over all we know and love.
We shall at last take control of our future, our fate, and ourselves.
No other endeavor ever attempted by humankind will require more genius, dedication, compassion, and sacrifice.
And no other endeavor ever attempted by humankind will be more vital to the continued existence of our species.
I understand that for many this may initially seem like pure science fiction. This is to be expected since the scales of the threats we face reside within the scope of what we have always considered to be science fiction. However, in reality, all of these goals are well within our technological reach. They are the quickest, and I believe only, way for our species to battle both the physical and societal threats that will continue to confront us.”
A Future of the Brave
Gentle friend MurphTheSurf3, this is what I warned of in “A Future of the Brave”. I hope we will adopt the plan I outlined to save us, or any better one we may find.
And thank you for your unrelenting compassion, and eloquent support of humanity.
Fellow citizens, the truth is that our present can only be as stable as our future.
For too long we have hobbled from decade to decade, generation to generation, and millennium to millennium, myopically adhering to superfluous battles that can never be won. Never once as a species forwarding or embracing an all encompassing path towards a certainly better future.
Our excuses have been many, our reasoning mostly incoherent, and our lack of vision as a species, certainly fatal.
For in the meantime, as each tick of the ages has passed, the critical threats posed and ignored by our species discordance have increased exponentially.
Pandemic famine and disease, massively destructive weapons, fatal atmospheric and climate change, super volcanic eruptions, catastrophic space body impacts, Orwellian societies of unparalleled oppression, and many other global catastrophes too numerous to list here, waiting to befall us at any moment.
In retrospect, when one soberly considers the critical challenges that we must face together to survive as a species, our differences, at times, can become almost imperceptible.”
A Future of the Brave
Murph, to me wisdom dictates that people leaving that part of the world be quarantined for the length of time that it takes for this hideous disease to show itself. At least that would keep it from traveling from one continent to another.
MTS and Nirek…much to my horror, I was listening to NPR going to work and now, WHO predicts it could hit over ONE MILLION people until January!!!!!Let’ see, life expectancy is higher, new projections actually show the planet will hit by 2020, a scandalous, staggering amount of 11 billion….and growing.Water is scarce and non existent in several parts of the globe…I see very doom days ahead of us.Thanks for bringing this to our attention.Have a good one!