Is the Ebola virus panic feasible? Should people worry about its global concern?
The war of microorganisms against mankind lasts for centuries. Microorganisms have lived on Earth for millions of years, long before the first human being stepped on the ground, so the truth is that people actually live on their territory. Swine flu that caused so much ado several years ago, was not the deadliest disease in history. Pestilence, measles, and smallpox killed hundreds of millions of people. The HIV has killed 25 million people during the last 30 years. Nowadays, humanity is facing yet another challenge – the Ebola virus, which has outbroken in Western Africa, already causing 5459 reported deaths and 15,351 expected cases (WHO, 2014) in a short time. It’s the worst outbreak of Ebola since its discovery in 1976. Average mortality is about 71% (CDC, 2014). But is the Ebola Virus so threatening for the humanity, and should people worry about it becoming pandemic?
It is recognized that the Ebola is a natural disease. Geographically it is limited by boundaries of the ecosystem which supports its existence, and it’s mostly people within these boundaries who get infected. The primary source of Ebola is unknown. Animal and insect species which can carry and transfer the Ebola virus to people are not revealed completely, and are now being studied. The primary source of Ebola, though, might be protozoa that live in soil waters. As for the reasons of recent outbreak, we can only guess why it happened. Probably, it was caused by violation of ecosystem under condition of virus transmission ways to people. Violation of ecosystem and transformation of disease agent may be caused by global climate change and urbanization of Western Africa.
The chains of epidemic’s transmission are unknown, because it is difficult to monitor them. It can be explained by the attitude of locals towards foreign doctors and their activities. Generally, local population does not trust doctors, and does not believe that the main reason of sickness is a virus. They ignore preventive measures, hide symptoms, and bury their diseased relatives secretly. So, thousands of deaths have probably left unreported. Many villages are distant, and cannot be reached by doctors. At the same time, medical staff shortages are observed, along with the lack of effective ways of treating Ebola. The development of the vaccine against Ebola requires a long time and, as a result, the scale of Ebola epidemic grows. Guinea, Sierra-Leone, and Liberia are the most affected countries.
Ebola epidemic affects economies of Western Africa countries, and cause a global economic impact as well. Several mining projects of more than $20 billion are now being shut down (Surran, 2014). World Bank estimates the impacts from $3.8 billion to $32.6 billion on regional GDP, 200,000 cases of contamination and about 100,000 deaths by the end of 2015 (Anirudh Sethi Report, 2014). Preventive and control measures are taken in many countries. The President of the United States Barack Obama has announced that Ebola is the world’s number one threat, and has called the global community to contribute to the United Nations’ Ebola relief fund. So far, the US has already contributed $206,4 million, Great Britain – $18.8 million, Japan – $11,4 million, China – $8.3 million. The World Bank has donated $105 million (Sanchez, 2014).
Swine flue killed about 18,000 people, but it was not pandemic. Now, Ebola is causing panic around the world, letting pharmacists and related scientists earn billions of dollars. The Ebola virus has killed a lot of people , being a very strong disease with a high mortality rate and a great number of potential deaths. The deadliest outbreak of Ebola has to be contained by international actions not only to save lives, but also to reduce economic costs for Western Africa and prevent global economic impact of the outbreak.
Anirudh Sethi Report (2014). Ebola Poses $33bn Threat to West Africa. Retrieved from http://www.anirudhsethireport.com/ebola-poses-33bn-threat-to-west-africa/.
CDC (2014). Ebola Virus Disease Information for Clinicians in U.S. Healthcare Settings. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/clinician-information-us-healthcare-settings.html?s_cid=cs_3964.
Sanchez, R. (2014). What Countries Have Pledged to Fight Ebola… and How Much They’ve Paid into the Fund? The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/ebola/11179135/What-countries-have-pledged-to-fight-Ebola…-and-how-much-theyve-paid-into-the-fund.html.
Surran, C. (2014). West African Mining Projects Hit Hard by Ebola Crisis. Seeking Alpha. Retrieved from http://www.seekingalpha.com/news/2135405-west-african-mining-projects-hit-hard-by-ebola-crisis.
WHO (2014). Ebola Response Roadmap – Situation report update. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/situation-reports/en/.