Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Ebola: Coming to a City Near You

Zsuzsanna Jakab, the European Director of the World Health Organization warned today that Ebola is certain to spread throughout Europe.  He stated it was "quite unavoidable."

This warning was tempered in a way that he hoped would not frighten Europe but enable them to prepare for the certainty that people in their countries, and perhaps their cities would contract the disease. 

It's not easy to contract Ebola, but it is difficult to provide the necessary isolation to keep the disease from spreading.  Fear is our very worst enemy.  People will lie to both avoid isolation and to seek treatment.  It's a dangerous brew.

Jakab's warning should have been made for the United States as well.  As it spreads through Europe it will invade the USA increasingly often.  And we lack practical methods of prevention, reasonable methods of isolation, and we have zero efforts at education.  

I'm frankly more worried about the impact on our economy even more than our national health.  Even a relatively minor outbreak will frighten most citizens.  And frightened citizens do desperate things.  The cost of prevention will be astronomical.

As has been the case under President Obama, virtually every threat has been underestimated, minimized or dismissed by the administration.  Ebola is no different.  We need a national health response plan now and our citizens need to be educated and informed to avoid panic.  

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