Should we scare it?
By W.Yilma October,
At this point in time our world is challenging in two
fronts. One is the Islamic State of Iraqi and Syria (ISIS) threat and
the other one is Ebola fever outbreaks. The ISIS crisis become to light by the
western and USA wrong foreign policies towards Iraqi, Libya and Syria. As if
they didn’t make mistakes in the past, they are again repeating the same mistakes
by saying that they will defeat the ISIS by launching skies of war. Should we
call it a star war? Let’s stop here talking about the Middle East war which
does not have an end.
This day the word Ebola is a topic of discussion mainly for many
media outlets. The first outbreak of Ebola has occurred in 1976 in Zaire, the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Yambuku area. This is the time the virus
was recognized. Since then limited Ebola outbreak as endemic nature has
occurred in many western African countries including Southern Sudan and Uganda.
The recent outbreak occurred in Guinea since March, 2014 is managed to escape
from its limit, and spill over to Sierra Leon, and Liberia. Since then Ebola become
a threat to the world population, and become a discussion for many media
For further information regarding Ebola chronological
outbreaks records, please refer the CDC website.
Ebola is a virus which cause infection both in human and
other non human primates, generally fatal disease marked by fever and sever
internal bleeding, spread through contact with infected body fluids. Theoretically,
Ebola could become Pandemic but it could not happen in practice like Black death
swept into Europe on boat from the east in the 14th century or the
Spanish flu , 1918 carried around the world by solders bound for or returning
from the butchery of Europe’s battle ground, killed between 50 and 100 million
In this modern world Ebola outbreak could happen here and
there with few cases around the world thanks to the technological advancement
of modern transportation. But still its transmission could be limited if we all
aware of the nature of the virus as well as its mode of its transmissions. The
other good news is, Ebola death could be averted if timely and necessary
supplementary treatment and care has provided to Ebola patients. Although few
cases, of those who are admitted to western hospitals, no Ebola patient died
from the disease. I Hope, the Liberian guy fate currently hospitalized in Texas
hospital will be the same as those previously cured. The > 50% death rate
from Ebola only happened in those countries where this kind of treatment is
Is Ethiopia at risk at this time, where there is a daily
flight by the Ethiopian air lines to countries with Ebola outbreaks? Due to my
limited knowledge in public health fields; it is wise to leave this question to
public health professionals to give their opinions on this matter. However, so
far the measures taken by Ethiopia Ministry of Health as part of early warning
system to protect the public from Ebola outbreak should be appreciated. What I
want to emphasis her is the following:
If emergency preparedness program is in place to isolate
those found sick, and quarantine those suspected; if there is a capacity to
trace back the source or origins of the first case, which includes follow-up
those individuals who had contact with the “sick” is an important measure to
effectively tackle, and contain Ebola. Educate the public about the disease to
empower the community to take appropriate measure in line of the health
ministry program should also be part of the emergency preparedness program.
All entrance ports should be inspected by the public health
professionals, and they should be supported with legal power to take every
necessary measure to protect the public. But measuring temperature alone to
detect Ebola patient should not be taken as a reliable methods to protect the
country from Ebola outbreak. This is because this method does not detect
“patients “at incubation period with Ebola virus.
Attention should be given to western part of Ethiopia
bordering Southern Sudan. This is because:
Sudan is in turmoil at this time due to the civil war. We have to know the
reason why Guinea, Liberia, and sierra Leon could not mange to contain Ebola.
It is not only due to lack of public health infrastructure but also the civil
war torn apart the countries capacity to take necessary measures. South Sudan
situation is worse than those countries mentioned above. Ethiopia is hosting
thousands of Southern Sudan refuges, and our gallant peace keeping solders are
in this part of the world, this must take into consideration.
were multiple outbreaks of Ebola in Southern Sudan (Nazara locality), and no
one is sure the likely hood of the future.
border is porous, and hard to trace back or timely detect the disease once it
Preparing spatial epidemiological map is
important to give priority for follow –up, and to allocate resources. Active
disease surveillance supported by epidemiological intelligence service play a
greater role to identify risk areas. Any fever in those identified as priority
geographic areas should be treated as an emergency and need to be reported, and
any necessary information of the patient should be recorded for follow-up when needed.
It seems hard to execute this, especially in Ethiopia condition, where there
are multiple diseases that could cause fever. However, until the Ebola outbreaks
subsidized worldwide, following this simple data recording procedures should be
a mandatory for any hospitals or clinics, including in remotest areas. Because
of its externalities some countries considered Ebola as a political disease and
a possibility to cover-up in case of outbreak in their territory. Therefore to
overcome this problem, active disease surveillance supported by epidemiological
intelligence service play a greater role to identify risk areas. Lesson can be
learnt from Nigeria, the way they effectively managed to contain the outbreak
of Ebola in their country was amazing.
Last, yes we should scare Ebola, but we should not be panic,
as we should be to SARS and avian or Birds flue, which spread by droplet nuclei
or dust through the air. Unless there is a close contact, and exposed (become
in contact) with blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine,
saliva, sweat, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with
Ebola, there is no reason to be worried about this disease. But this does not
mean we should avoid being vigilant for Ebola. Public health personnel could be
infected if exposed to needles contaminated with the virus, or from sick or
infected non-human primate. Ignoring what the media outlets are echoing,
politicians should be relied on professional advice.
Long Live Ethiopia