The only time our generation has seen a true pandemic, fortunately, has been in the movies. But if efforts are not increased to curb the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the deadly virus could spiral out of control and create a situation we haven’twitnessed in nearly a century.
A report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that Ebola could infect as many as 1.4 million people in Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa by January 2015, if it is allowed to wreck havoc at its current pace.That's about 10 percent of their combined population.
"If we don't do anything immediately then the exponential growth that has been forecast will continue, so far as we can see, and we'll have not a few thousand cases but probably tens of thousands of cases," said Christopher Dye of the World Health Organization (WHO)in Geneva.
While the international community is usually very proactive in matters of public healthcare, it has been mysteriously absent in this case. It's easy to blame this unprecedented show of insensitivity at highly contagious nature of the virus or the absence of a working vaccine, but the fact remains that healthcare activists have tackled similar endemics in the past without the WHO needing to stress the situation's seriousness.
President Barrack Obama and other world leaders have recently voiced their concerns over the issue, but their calls to action are incredibly offthe pace considering the patient zero of the ongoing Ebola wave was identified last year in December. The WHO too is equally guilty as the organization itself had confirmed the existence of Ebola in Guinea as early as March, yet it's efforts fail to match up favorably with the verbal concerns it regularly shows.
"I don’t think the world is getting the message," writes Washington Post's health editor Richard E. Besser who is a former CFC director. "The magnitude of the response needed for a deadly outbreak like this in a staggeringly poor country demands both dollars and people.
"For four years I led the CDC’s emergency-response activities, including the early response to the H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. I speak from sad experience: The level of response to the Ebola outbreak is totally inadequate. At the CDC, we learned that a military-style response during a major health crisis saves lives. In a global setting, the CDC usually provides technical support to local ministries of health. This crisis calls for much more."
Some blame could be attached to local regimes for brushing the impending health crisis under the carpet due to the threat of economic quarantining, but the rest of the world should have known better.
The current ebolaviruseruptionhas claimed 2,800 lives to date – a count that's rising every day. The ill-equipped governments of effected countries are simply collecting dead bodies and watching the virus proliferate before their eyes.
The U.S. military is scheduled to be in Liberia in the next few weeks where it will help build 17 treatment centersand train local health workers, but so far that's the extent of its participation in the cause.Perhaps, had Ebola been a terrorist organization, things would have been different.