SHOULD WE STOP ALL AIRLINE FLIGHTS INTO OR OUT OF WEST AFRICA IN ORDER TO STOP THE SPREAD OF THE EBOLA VIRUS?

A man, returning from Liberia, died from the Ebola Virus, in a Dallas, Texas hospital this past week.  This has brought out a considerable amount of misguided media commentary suggesting the cancellation of all flights into or out of West Africa.  A number of European nations have already curtailed such flights.

Isolating the region would do little more than eliminate the delivery of equipment, supplies and skilled health care workers from assisting in combatting the disease.  What would you do in such a situation, if members of your family were endangered?  The result would probably just cause the inflicted and family members to travel elsewhere in Africa in search of assistance.  So, do we then isolate the entire continent?

Common sense dictates that, when you have a major problem, it is best to combat it at its source. Experts–such as our CDC or the U.N’s WHO–advise that the spread of Ebola, or any disease, is really a question of mathematics.  When the number of people with the virus infect more than one other person, on average, the virus will spread.  The goal is to keep that number under one, which causes it to contract.  Then, after stopping the spread, it becomes a much more manageable problem to solve.

By isolating either West Africa or the entire continent, where most countries do not have the resources to contain the Ebola, it will only cause the situation to get worse.  And, given the lack of medical supplies, skilled professionals and public health protocols, the current Ebola Virus Epidemic will only continue to grow and become unmanageable.  No country is truly safe if we do not act now!

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  1. #1 by cheekos on October 21, 2014 - 2:39 AM

    There is a very, very interesting story about “The Ebola Wars” in The New Yorker, as linked: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/27/ebola-wars. It combines the search for the Ebola genetic code, the horrific conditions under which Health Care workers must function and, of course, the necessity to maintain the flights into and out of West Africa.

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