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Ebola!

Posted on July 29, 2014
Ebola virus virion.jpg

"Ebola virus virion" by CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith - Public Health Image Library, #10816
This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #10816.. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.



Oh Great.

First, it was global warming.

Then, it was the financial crisis.

Then, some unforeseen terrorist attack.

Then it was as meteor (or solar storms or some other galactic disturbance).

Now it’s ebola.

Ebola.  Great.

This thing has been on the periphery of our consciousness for at least a decade.

It probably started with some unfortunate activity with an ape, and now, it is the newest big thing to sweep the planet.

A couple of American doctors apparently have it.

There have already been movies done about Ebola (or a variety of the deadly virus) and the results are never very favorable.

People start coughing up blood and then blood comes out of their eyes and ears and then they start keeling over, and somebody like Michael Douglas has to come up with some sort of a vaccine to save the planet.

It is as if the next black plague will wipe out civilization.

But that probably won’t happen.

When Europe was devastated by the bubonic virus, doctors in the Middle Ages didn't exactly practice the best hygiene.  One top method for dealing with illness, for example, was putting leaches on the body to suck out the bad blood.

So it probably shouldn't be that surprising that as the Plague spread, a lot of people died.

The Ebola virus has been spreading in Africa, where unfortunately, they don’t always practice the safest hygiene.

For example, ebola is spread by human to human contact.  Here is what Wikipedia says about how it is spread:  “Ebola spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.”

It is fairly common in some of these West African countries, as a person is dying, to throw yourself on top of the dead and dying.

Not recommended.

Because that is how Ebola is spread.

You can see how a doctor, working quickly, could mistakenly get caught up in a virus like this.  You can also see how family members could also pass the virus on to others.

The bubonic plague, which led to the Black Death, was transported first by rats, who hosted the flees that actually carried the virus.  Rats are unusually good at stowing away on ships, which is why ports of call were always the easiest place to catch the disease.

There is some concern that Ebola could make its way to America by way of a jet.  Some have called for a stop of direct flights from Liberia and other Western African capitals into the United States.

But unlike the rats that unwittingly infected human wherever they went, it is a lot harder to get Ebola than it was to get the bubonic plague.

You have to have those bodily transmissions, and frankly, that doesn't happen on an airplane.

That being said, if you are from the infected region of Africa and you show any symptoms, it would be smart if American custom agents require you to stay away from any other human for three weeks or so, just in case.

Ebola is unlikely to be the next big thing to bring down American civilization.   Nope, what will bring down American civilization is going to be a bunch of small little things, like tattoos or people wearing their pants below their butts.