Monday, April 7, 2014

That Ebola Epidemic in West Africa Really Is More Important Than Kim Kardashian

From April 7, 2014 Washington Post:
Since then, the organization has dispatched nine additional updates on a ballooning outbreak that’s received modest notice in the West, but has sent waves of panic across the African continent.
March 24: The outbreak is “rapidly evolving.” 59 dead. 86 confirmed cases.
March 27: The sickness spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. 66 dead. 103 confirmed cases.
March 30: “This is a rapidly changing situation,” WHO reported. 70 dead. 112 confirmed cases.
April 3: Ebola “has a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent,” the organization said. 83 dead. 127 confirmed cases.
If you have not read The Hot Zone, I encourage you to do so.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.


  1. Sorry, Clayton, but I'm not going to worry about this, other than sympathy for the tragic deaths of a few hundred in Africa.

    Ebola is not a scary disease unless you catch it. It is transmitted (outside the bush) only by people already pretty sick, and then only by bodily fluids. It's not a terrorist threat and it's not going to be contagious in the west. It's far less of a threat than Anthrax, and Anthrax isn't much of an issue unless weaponized and dispersed in an unnatural way (aerosol).

    Also, a disease with a very high mortality after a relatively short infection is self limiting. The really nasty epidemics are form diseases that have participated in host/parasite evolution for a while, and thus don't kill of their hosts too quickly. Malaria comes to mind.

  2. Your link to "The Hot Zone" is broken for me...