• Question: do you think ebola will kill us

    Asked by mrs shenny to Anthea, Chloe, Kevin, Sean on 19 Nov 2014.
    • Photo: Sean Kelly

      Sean Kelly answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      I’m no expert but my answer is no, it won’t kill us 🙂 Ebola is a very dangerous and deadly disease but we, as humans, know enough about it to be able to stop the spread of it, treat its symptoms and likely even cure it (with enough time and money). Sadly many people have already died but the disease can be stopped. For example, Nigeria put strong control measures into action after the disease reached their country and they managed to eradicate it from their country. Ebola had reached the Nigerian city of Lagos, where 21 MILLION people live (many in very un-sanitary conditions). This means there was huge potential for the disease to spread very, very rapidly. But it didn’t thanks to the fast acting and good planning by the Nigerian health system and other bodies/organisations.

    • Photo: Chloe Kinsella

      Chloe Kinsella answered on 19 Nov 2014:

      Hi Mrs Shenny ,
      No I don’t think Ebola will kill us. I am not an expert on this disease, but I have been reading about it over the last few weeks. Unfortunately the outbreak in West Africa is the worst epidemic of this virus since it was first discovered in 1976. There have been many other epidemics, and luckily Ebola didnt spread to every continent those times. I read an article about two people in the USA that have contracted Ebola and seem to have recovered. Scientists have found some evidence that if a person has recovered from an Ebola virus infection (and this is rare), they are immune to future infection. Other studies of blood samples taken from Ebola survivors a few years after they became infected with the virus show that these people have developed antibodies that can neutralize the Ebola virus.
      Scientists from all over the world have been working on this virus trying to quickly come up with a cure. The antibodies in Ebola survivors blood suggests that humans can create an immune response to the disease. Similar to other disease vaccinations, if we could inject a tiny dose of Ebola into people and this caused them to create their own antibodies, then they might become immune to Ebola too. All possible cures have to go through multiple rounds of clinical trials before they can be given to patients. Hopefully the continued hard work of scientists and the government will continue to stop the spread, and find a suitable cure soon.

    • Photo: Kevin Healy

      Kevin Healy answered on 20 Nov 2014:

      I’m with Sean and Chloe on this one Ebola is very unlikly to become a pandemic in Europe or the USA never mind turning into something as bad as the balck plauge (the worst pandemic to hit Europe with 1 in 3 people killed during its spread). The reason for this is ebola is actually very poor at spreading it requires fluids of the sick person entering another person in order for them to get the disease! However in Lagos and the other places that ebola has spread there is very poor sanitation. That means fluids can more easily be transmitted through dirty drinking water or from coming in contact with fluids in enclosed places! Another unfortunte way it is spreading is the cultural practice in some of the affected areas which also allows it to spread between people.
      These conditions are not what we find in Europe and we also have the medical facilaties to quarantine anyone who does have it if it does arrive. All these things together unfortunatly point towards the fact that what we are seeing with ebola is as much to do with poverty as it does to do with the deadly disease itself.