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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ebola outbreak may be worse than suspected

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa may be worse that first suspected. Deaths caused by the virus may be severely under reported, and the disease may have found a new way of spreading from one victim to another.

The New York Times published the story of a grave digger working in the capital of the Republic of Sierra Leone, a city of over a million inhabitants, who said copious bodies have been dumped for burial.  Protective gear worn by grave diggers is indicative of the fear that these bodies were the victims of Ebola.

Yet while this is true, the New York Times reports, the Sierra Leone Health Ministry has reported only 10 deaths due to the Ebola virus since the outbreak was first reported over six months ago.  

As I reported in August, the virus is highly infectious, meaning that it easily jumps from one person to another.  It is not, however, very contagious, meaning that to get it you have to touch the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease, something that rarely occurs unless you are a healthcare worker.

However, there are investigators in Canada who suspect that the disease may have figured out a way to spread between species and victims through the air; that it has found a way to be airborne.  If this is true, the disease may also be deadlier than first suspected.

This epidemic appears to have gotten so bad that Obama is planning to send 3,000 U.S. troops to West Africa to help stop the spread of the disease. One can only wonder what kind of success the military could accomplish regarding this task, especially when we know that the role of the military is to smash things and kill people.

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