As we sit holding our mobile devices, glaring at our flat screens invisibly tethered to satellite dishes, and collectively watching: We have become witnesses to just how fast and far a terrifyingly debilitating virus can travel.
Historically, Ebola has had an endemic hold in isolated communities very similar to Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Its track record or timeline meant a death sentence. Since the victims and their families did not travel far and few were invited (or too afraid) to go in, the person-to-person contact was limited or halted, so the chain of infection had an easier chance of being controlled and broken.
Fast forward to 2014: Now that we’re well beyond the industrial age and the global markets are greatly established and open, Ebola is no longer an inconvenience just for international explorers and travelers. Ebola has certainly taken an economic toll on the airlines and the drilling industries in West Africa. It has also impacted various other countries, like ours, because we are actively engaged in efforts to control and contain it. Yes, we even deal with this on our own soil.
The good thing about this new timeline is that West Africa is not alone. It has international support; and it will have a better chance of putting this round of the Ebola virus behind it. It also has a chance to hear that We mourn the loss of the nearly 1,000 lives lost to the Ebola virus and our hearts go out to the loved ones left behind.
The other good thing about the new timeline of Ebola is we now have:
- a greater understanding of the Ebola virus and how it’s transmitted
- a better understanding of how easy it is for family members and health care providers to come into contact with an infected person's bodily fluid
- a greater awareness of how certain foods (infected bushmeat) and animals (bats, large apes and antelopes) can spread the disease
- the power of technology and communication which makes it easier to share information such as: there is value in isolating those with symptoms while tests are being run, universal precautions should be taken and protective gear should be worn when handling or coming into contact with blood/bodily fluid and similar messaging
- the U.S. travel warning for three West African countries
- the U.N. upgrade: The Ebola outbreak is a global international public health emergency
- possibilities (of hope) that may exist now that experimental treatments and vaccines (ZMapp) for Ebola have been released
Right now, there doesn't seem to be a clear end to the story, but we can rest assured that there is an international response to preventing any more deaths.
To read about the risk levels in St. Louis, click here (CBS local news).