Without any doubt, the scary part of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is how lethal it is. Yahoo news indicated that WHO was reporting a newly revised case fatality rate of 70%, although today's update from WHO puts the number at 50% (4493 deaths so far out of "8997 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) ...in seven affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America) up to the end of 12 October." This puts the disease on the same lethal footing as the bubonic plague and even more deadly than the "Spanish" flu that was a global pandemic in 1918.
Ebola is controllable, but only with concerted efforts (as have, in fact, occurred in Nigeria, where an outbreak was halted in its tracks). Thanks to Dr. Peter Pollock, I have been alerted to a group at Northeastern University in Boston who are trying to track the progress of the disease, so that we can all be kept alert to the danger. Indeed, recognizing the danger and protecting yourself as much as you can is an important part of controlling the virus's spread. Temporarily quarantining people who have potentially been exposed is a wise policy, as well, no matter how oppressive that may seem. Indeed, you might recall that Ellis Island is an island precisely so that passengers into the US could be quarantined if they were sick.
At ground zero, in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, it is hard to imagine the societal devastation that the disease will cause down the road, given the relatively weak world response thus far to stopping the spread there. These are countries with already high death rates and high birth rates, and a preponderance of young people. They are already short on health resources and economic well-being, and Ebola will set these countries back in the way that HIV has set back eastern and southern Sub-Saharan Africa.
This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.
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