Over 1,800 people have been killed in the Ebola outbreak since the first cases were confirmed in Africa a year ago. The number of the dead seems to be growing at a rate of 200-400 per month and is starting to go exponential. Surpassed only by the epidemic that claimed more than 11,000 lives in West Africa from 2014-2016, it was the longest and deadliest in Congo’s history.
In the U.S., Ebola rumors stoked by fears of Ebola carrying African immigrants, who have managed to cross the ocean in trafficked container ships to Central American countries, threatens the U.S. southern border. Several Congolese immigrants have already been spotted crossing the border into the U.S. Similar stories have been reported in Europe. Is a global Ebola pandemic imminent?
Is there a vaccine? Yes, there is. It is 99% effective and more than 161,000 people have received it. Lead by the World Health Organization (WHO), with good sanitation and quarantine measures, the vaccines have proven effective but are in relatively short supply. Tackling the disease has been complicated by conflict and superstitions in the African region. DR Congo’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga complained that the Congolese were being treated as “subjects of experimentation”, and he resigned over the issue.
The health responders do have all the necessary healthcare tools to stop such a pandemic. However, getting these tools in place has been challenging. Though some may eventually die, the current Ebola outbreak will be contained. In the U.S. they’re most likely will be a few U.S. cases reported, stoking political fears of the immigration crisis currently going on at the American southern border. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
Could there be some other type of pandemic disease arrived on the global stage? This is a distinct possibility. Some other type of pandemic disease could happen within the next 2 to 7 years – just not this one. But a pandemic disease that could affect the world globally will be a disease where the necessary healthcare tools are not in place and the solutions are unknown. This is WHO’s and the world’s greater fear.