Ebola and the 24hour news cycle

By: A.C.

I think we have all been well informed of every detail about Ebola Virus in the last few weeks.

In some ways the continuous rolling news coverage tends to over-sensitise the viewer to what is happening.

It is unfortunate that the World Health Organisation (WHO) seemed to be bogged down by bureaucracy and incompetence in its West Africa Office which has led to this virus getting hold.

This report takes no prisoners, and does not protect incompetent staff.

However, even though the WHO have held up their hands and admitted their incompetence in this matter, let us not forget, that the “West” got very agitated and jumpy when Spain, Britain and the USA had health workers return home infected. That seemed to spur Governments into action and the big International Medical Charities got the equipment and help they had been shouting for from the start of the outbreak.

The fear factor of this already undoubtedly frightening and very scary disease is being hyped up by the rolling news channels like all continually reporting on the dire consequences of this virus if one contracts it. Despite assurances that it is not airborne, cannot be caught from an aircraft seat and is purely limited to coming into contact with the bodily fluids of someone in the infective stage, many people are overreacting to hysteria in the press.

Health Workers caring for Ebola victims in their last days are the most at risk.

I can remember the campaigns for AIDS and STD’s which are still very relevant today for everybody today.

At this time of year students for example are more likely to get Glandular fever or Meningitis. Two students in Glasgow were hospitalised just the other day for bacterial meningitis.

I have an interest in family history research as that teaches so much about how our ancestors lived.

In Europe, North America and just about anywhere where there were large populations moving into towns, epidemics of Cholera, Polio, Typhoid, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Meningitis Chickenpox, TB or Consumption, which were rife and life –threatening in their own way – were a continual threat. Most of them would be life –changing, causing blindness, deafness, foetal disablement, or paralysis. Spanish Flu alone killed nearly 50 million people after it got a hold in America as troops arrived from Europe following WW1, which was yet another epidemic to add to the Polio epidemic.

In the early part of the last century when President Roosevelt got Polio, he and his wife determined to eradicate it. This disease terrified the Public in America, who raised huge amounts for iron lungs, equipment and so on in the still existing “March of Dimes” charity which has now focused on infant diseases there.

I was thinking about if there had been some kind of TV or Radio how would the rolling news teams from Murdoch, FOX, CNN or whoever, report the Black Death in Europe? That must have terrifying for the towns and villages all over Europe. All those people could do was ring a bell and shout “ bring out your dead”, take them away on a cart and burn them or bury them in a lime pit.

20 million people died in that medieval epidemic. Yet Bubonic Plague has not gone away and along with other airborne contagious and infectious diseases presents a bigger threat than Ebola, terrible though it is. Education, changing of funerary rituals and the copious use of cleaning agents like bleach will probably halt much of the transfer of the disease – meantime and provided the virus does not mutate.

Personally I think a bigger danger to “West” are the corporate donut, coffee, burger and ice–cream chains. Diabetes is a serious and insidious disease which in type 2 form is related to obesity as a factor. That epidemic is more serious. But the multi–nationals want us to keep munching their food, and keep the economy afloat.

I suppose what I am trying to say is this; you are more likely to get a dose of the trots in a burger chain or from eating poorly washed salad in a restaurant than get Ebola.

Flu vaccination for me in the next couple of weeks, and as my wife does not qualify for that, but is in the direct line of customers sneezes and coughs at a checkout, handles their cash, and the items they have picked up, then paying for vaccination is well worth it.

Oh well, Samhain and Halloween approaches, and I bet there will be children dressing up as an Ebola virus…

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