Michael T. Osterholm: In fear of Ebola's breakout moment

By Michael T. Osterholm

Published : September 16, 2014

Ideals involved: Opportunity and Liberty

          The Ebola breakout has the potential to change history more than any other plague.  There have been about 4,300 cases of Ebola and 2,300 known deaths from the breakout in the last six months.  According to the World Health Organization, there could be thousands of new cases each week in cities like Liberia and Sierra Leone.  One of the theories of the Ebola breakout is that the virus will mutate as it replicates to be transmissible through the air.  Virologists have noticed that Ebola is sloppy when it comes to replicating and does not make exact copies of itself.  This could lead to an Ebola breakout that is not only transmissible by bodily fluids, but also through the air we all breathe.  

          The ideals involved with the Ebola breakout are opportunity and liberty.  Because the outbreak is in West Africa, an area where supplies and medical staff are rare, the opportunity for the infected people to get the help and medications they need is very slim.  This lack of opportunity to get help hinders the process of finally ending the Ebola outbreak, the final goal.  The second ideal, liberty, is also not present in the Ebola outbreak.  The disease has limited the way people can act.  If you are infected with Ebola, you cannot have contact with family and friends for an extended amount of time. The disease keeps spreading, causing more and more people to have to endure the disease's limitations on their daily lives.

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