The Five Strains of Ebola, Fear Mongering and the Ebola Boat

ebola fearBeing the utterly neurotic human that I am, I was drifting off to sleep late last night listening to a podcast called “How Ebola Works,” of course and learned a few things, most interestingly, the five strains.

Named after the regions they were discovered in, the strains are: Zaire (Democratic Republic of Congo), Sudan, Bundibugyo (Uganda), Ivory Coast and Reston.

You do not have to worry about Reston or Ivory Coast Ebola unless you’re a monkey. Sudan, Bundibugyo and Zaire Ebola however, are very dangerous to humans.

As far as discovery goes it’s a relatively new player on the deadly virus, infectious scene. I guess we should go back to 1976. It’s actually named for the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At the time that country was known as Zaire, and even still there’s a strain of Ebola known as Zaire type Ebola, and it’s the deadliest of all.

One thing fellow neurotic, fearful types who listen to How Stuff Works podcasts on deadly diseases at 2:00 a.m. really need to keep in mind:

Ebola is not as easy to contract as you think…

According to Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson, “It is easier to get the flu than to get Ebola.”

The only two American citizens to contract Ebola so far have been nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who died earlier this month of the virus after flying from West Africa to Texas.

It is completely unlike the common cold in that it is NOT airborne. 

Here are the limited ways you can contract it, as listed by the CDC:

  • Direct contact with the blood or body fluids (including but not limited to feces, saliva, urine, vomit and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • Contact with objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of an infected person or with infected animals

It is absolutely a growing problem that deserves global attention

Of all the horrifying facts I’ve read about Ebola besides that whole no cure thing, the most important is how quickly it has spread in just one year.

From 1976 to 2013 there were only 1,716 reported cases, but now that 2014 is nearly over we’re looking at a whopping 8,997 and counting. On the other hand, it’s important to stay calm yet aware. As the Washington Post points out, one thing that spreads faster than Ebola itself is the fear of Ebola.

 The Ebola Boat

A running “joke” between my friends and I has been the thought of an Ebola boat. Basically, because it takes so long for those exposed to begin showing symptoms, I suggested that any and all travelers who may have come in contact with the virus shouldn’t be allowed to fly.

Instead, put them all on a cruise ship. Half ship, half fully functional floating hospital, to be exact, and if even one of them so much as coughs, keep them on the boat a little longer.

I know it sounds a little horrible and yes, it’s a violation of everything most of you believe in, but I didn’t need to see how people who are supposed to be in quarantine act (going on flights, eating out) to know that a lot of us kind of deserve to have our rights taken away.

I don’t trust idiots with guns or diseases with an 80% fatality rate. If there’s any chance at all that you have Ebola, stay in your fucking house. I don’t care how bored you are.

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