The fear mongers that want the US border closed to the rest of the world relish every time a new worldwide crisis emerges. The fear mongers use social media and traditional news sources to spread fear in order to mobilize the electorate to the closed border mentality. No matter how remote the danger is to US citizens, for the fear mongers every crisis is an opportunity to proclaim closing the borders is good for the United States.
The current Ebola crisis is no different. As with all fear mongers and propagandists, the facts are just inconvenient obstacles that must be ignored in order to spread their closed border mentality to the US population. Because sensational headlines of walking dead at the US border dominates the news, I thought it important to share with you a quick history of Ebola.
The Ebola Facts
Ebola was named by Peter Piot, a scientist in Antwerp that was examining the blood of a Belgium nun that had died from an unknown disease in Africa in 1976. Piot looked at a map and saw the Ebola river and decided that was going to be the name of the virus his team had finally photographed using an electron microscope.
Historically, each Ebola outbreak has been traced to one person who contracted the disease by handling the dead carcasses of an African antler known as a Duiker, a chimpanzee or a gorilla. That individual then begins a sequence of spreading the virus person to person through bodily fluids. The disease is normally spread within families and in hospital settings where the appropriate protection is not observed. The disease has not been proven to be an airborne contagion and thus it is not spread through the air.
The international community currently classifies the Ebola virus into five strains. The Ebola (EBOV) virus, the Sudan (SUDV) virus, the Reston (RESTV) virus, the Tai Forest (TAFV) virus and the Bundibugyo (BDBV) virus. The Ebola (EBOV) is the most common of the virus family and is the current one in the news.
Ebola first appeared in the Sudan on November 1976. It was known as the Sudan (SUDV) strain. This outbreak killed 151 of the 284 cases that were documented. That is a 53% fatality rate. Also in 1976, another outbreak occurred in Zaire now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR. Congo). This strain was the EBOV strain that killed 280 patients out of 318 cases.
Great Britain had one individual infected due to accidently sticking himself with a contaminated needle at the Microbiological Research Establishment in 1976. The patient survived the exposure. In 1979, the Sudan virus again surfaced in the Sudan killing 22 patients out of 34 infected.
The United States and the Philippines had an outbreak starting in 1989 of the Reston (RESTV) virus that were introduced by monkeys imported from the Philippines. There were no reported fatalities. In 1992, Italy as well reported the Reston virus in the country with no human infection. There was also another RESTV outbreak in the US in 1996 with no reported human infections.
In 1994, an outbreak of the Ebola (EBOV) started in Gabon where it spread to the DR. Congo (Zaire) on to South Africa. This outbreak lasted until 1997 and resulted in a 68% mortality rate averaged through the five episodes of the outbreak. Uganda had an outbreak of the Sudan (SUDV) virus in 2000. This outbreak resulted in 224 deaths out of 425 infected patients. From 2001 through 2003, another outbreak of the EBOV virus started in Gabon and spread to the DR. Congo. Three hundred cases were documented with 253 death, an 84% mortality rate.
Russia has had two deaths connected to the Ebola virus, both as a result of laboratory contamination. Those occurred in 1996 and 2004.
In 2007 and 2008, there were two outbreaks of the Ebola virus in the DR. Congo that resulted in 52 deaths out of 181 infected individuals. In addition, during the same period, an outbreak of the Bundibugyo (BDBV) virus occurred in Uganda. This outbreak resulted in 37 deaths out of the 149 patients infected. This is a 25% mortality rate.
In 2011, another outbreak in Uganda resulted in six deaths out of 12 reported cases. Another Bundibugyo outbreak in the DR. Congo occurred in 2012. Thirteen deaths out of 36 patients were reported. Another Sudan strain outbreak occurred in 2012 in Uganda resulting in three deaths out of six patients.
The current outbreak has been identified as an Ebola strain that started in multiple countries in West Africa. So far, this current outbreak is showing a mortality rate of about 52%. Over four thousand individuals have been reported as infected including two in the United States, in the Dallas Texas area. One death in the United States has been reported to date.
No Ebola South of the Border
That’s right look closely at the map of the countries where the various strains of Ebola have been reported and you will notice that all of the countries to the south of the United States, in other words all of Latin America has not had a single case of Ebola detected. As the fear mongers continue to demand that the borders be closed the fact remains that the southern border of the United States does not pose an Ebola crisis for the US.
More importantly, look closely at the map and the information I have shared here with you and you will notice that although highly dangerous Ebola is the not the disease that will end the world regardless of the doom-and-gloom by the fear mongers.
The fact is that the high mortality rates have been correlated to the inability of countries to adequately contain the disease in hospital settings or rural areas. That includes the United States, as the spread of the Ebola virus is a direct result of the hospital’s inability to ensure the adequate containment of the infected materials.
As the fear mongers continue to spread the fear it is important to keep in mind that the Ebola virus is transmitted directly via bodily fluids from an infected individuals. Therefore, unless you are going to be exchanging bodily fluids with an unknown individual it is highly unlikely you will contract the Ebola virus.