There is good news in the Ebola crisis. Regardless of the way the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) handled this viral invasion, there is no concern. Even though the CDC reacted poorly, they quickly began the arduous task of enacting quarantine.
The levels of bureaucracy made it difficult for information within the government to establish threat level assessments and protocol. This is our wakeup call. Ebola was a good way to warn the nation of what happens when procedures aren’t taken. If this was an outbreak of an influenza pandemic, extreme antibiotic resistant tuberculosis or smallpox, that would be concerning.
Ebola is a ghastly disease, and the horrors that it entails have been used in entertainment as a means to express that horror, like in Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later,” when lab animals were infected with an agent that caused a massive epidemic in England and the movie “Outbreak” in which a California town was rampaged by a disease with a 100 percent mortality rate.
There are a number of things that prevent Ebola from becoming an epidemic in this country. First off, during the incubation period, like HIV, it is not spread by saliva but by bodily fluids. Even when the symptoms begin, the virus is still quite small in number, and therefore, it still resides within the initial core of its host. Yet, as the virus replicates, it begins to make its way to the surface. At this point, the range of infecting others begins to increase as the colonies of the virus rapidly grow.
The tissues within the body break down and as the barriers of tissues collapse, the infection spreads. It eats its host alive from the inside out, but, as with all life forms, it’s not its intention to kill the host – like all of us, it wants to live. Instead, it attempts a process of de-personification, where it attempts to transform the host into the virus itself.
The host undergoes what can be known as pacification, where the individual can ask questions and talk but at the same time fails to show any emotion. Literally, a form of zombification has occurred. The host is already dead – the brain doesn’t understand this yet.
Now for the good news: The family members of Thomas Eric Duncan have been released, showing that the probability of infection is extremely low. Only two others have been infected, and each person was a healthcare worker. If the CDC followed all its standard protocols, there would be none.
In other good news, early detection appears to be the key to a full recovery. Still, only one American has died from the epidemic, and those who have contracted the virus overseas and were sent back to the United States have all recovered.
The notion of hope overcoming fear has been achieved. One who does have hope is far more likely to approach the proper authorities with the expectation that they will survive. In doing so, the virus will be maintained. In many ways, Ebola has strengthened and enhanced our bio-safety and security.