Monday, July 14, 2014

Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever

Article: Ebola outbreak in West Africa now the largest on record

When you teach science, you sometimes becomes an "expert" on odd subjects. Ebola is one of the those for me.
One of the Biology textbooks we had used Ebola as an example of the scientific method in action. So I read fact sheets, and Wikipedia entries, and what was in the High School library.

The best part of teaching, for me, are the questions that allow for interesting diversions into Biology in general. It is best to be prepared.

So, this is big. Most outbreaks in the past were small and self-limiting. That is, everyone died.

Medical people have learned how to survive, found the cause (a virus), linked it to other similar diseases, etc.

There is not a lot that can be done to stop an outbreak from happening. People there eat "bush meat." And that covers a wide variety of animals. Contaminated bush meat seems to be a major avenue of infection. However, that route must still be very rare, because years go by without a recognized outbreak.

And panicking people do things that seem reasonable to them: hide, run to the cities, attack clinics, etc.

Eventually, one of these nasty exotic diseases will, literally, take flight and end up in major airport in Europe, or Asia, or the US.

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