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Report from Liberia
Ebola Out of Control

A window into Liberia in the throes of the plague: Westerners boogie the night away in dance halls, sleep with local prostitutes even as authorities downplay the size of the epidemic. Families hide the truth about what’s wrong with their loved ones, fearing consequences of letting authorities and neighbors know the truth. That’s according to this terrifying account provided by the Guardian:

[Sorious] Samura, a television journalist originally from Sierra Leone, said the Liberian authorities appeared to be deliberately downplaying the true number of cases, for fear of increasing alarm in the west African country.

“People are dying in greater numbers than we know, according to MSF [Médecins sans Frontières] and WHO officials. Certain departments are refusing to give them the figures – because the lower it is, the more peace of mind they can give people. The truth is that it is still not under control.” […]

Samura believes sexual promiscuity among westerners could play a role in the virus’s spread abroad. Almost immediately after the outbreak was reported in March, Liberia’s health minister warned people to stop having sex because the virus was spread via bodily fluids as well as kissing.“I saw westerners in nightclubs, on beaches, guys picking up prostitutes,” he said. “Westerners who ought to know better are going to nightclubs and partying and dancing. It beggars belief. It’s scary.”

If true, Ebola may not come to the West via Liberian or other West African citizens, but from returning aid workers, tourists, business people and others.

One possibility: Many businessmen in West Africa are of Lebanese and Syrian extraction. Put the Ebola virus into a combat zone where medical services are already overwhelmed, and the consequences in refugee camps and cities under siege don’t bear thinking about.

It’s much too soon to tell what the course of the Ebola epidemic will be, but so far it has to be said that Ebola has been easier to catch and harder to contain than officials everywhere have anticipated.

Appearing in West Africa, a part of the world where governments are weak, public health services poor, and local customs and beliefs conducive to its spread deeply entrenched, Ebola could not have found a more promising venue.

The initial U.S. response to the presence of one case has been shambolic; clearly the “long peace” in which killer epidemics were rare has left our health system unprepared for the kind of threat Ebola represents.

We have to hope now that public health authorities here, in Europe and in other countries will demonstrate the focused dedication needed for an extended period in which the threat of a global outbreak of Ebola is real. But even under the best case scenarios, it will take months before the disease is under control and during all that time the epidemic will be knocking on our door, and on the doors of many other countries around the world.

There is some hope that Ebola will have a harder time spreading outside of West Africa if only because public health systems are better elsewhere and burial customs are different. We are not yet facing a killer pandemic worldwide.

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  • Corlyss

    “Samura believes sexual promiscuity among westerners”

    What irresponsible nitwit at ViaMeadia posted this BS? This has got to be one of the Guardian’s typically cruel jokes, like Edward Snowden. If it were true, whites would be dropping like flies and Ebola would have come back to the West in March, not October. The onset of the disease don’t take THAT long.

    • Pete

      The kiddies at ViaMeadia sometime have trouble with critical thinking.

      • Corlyss

        LOL My sentiments to a buddy who frequents this site. The cutesy-poo college kids/interns are toooooooooooooooo gullible or to cute by half.

        • Tom

          Well, they might have a case for that last one…

    • CailinM

      Look at Samura’s smirk – he’s messin’ with ya.

      • Corlyss

        He ain’t messin’ with me. He’s messin’ with those morons at the Guardian.

        • Curious Mayhem

          Someone’s mental immune system — AKA “critical thinkIng” — is turned off.

    • Lina Inverse

      When you’re healthy enough to, say, dance, even if you’re coming down with Ebola, you might not be too infectious. We know a lot about how terribly infectious late state Ebola patients are, and much, much less about early stage. Look at how Thomas Duncan appears to have failed to infect anyone he was in contact with before being admitted to the hospital, and then two nurses once in it.

      If the described behavior is indeed happening in Liberia, there’s certainly risk, but unquantifiable at this time. Given the stakes, especially of someone returning to a place with lower quality health care, it should be treated a lot more seriously.

  • FriendlyGoat

    “Easier to catch and harder to contain than officials everywhere have anticipated”

    That’s the story.

  • Arkeygeezer

    Fear not. Our President is on the job!

  • mdmusterstone

    This disease simply spotlights the fact that broadly
    speaking the institutions of these countries do not function and they do not
    have the trust of their people.

    Last I read Nigeria made 18,500 face to face interviews of possible Ebola contacts and is ready to declare itself free of the disease. Fingers crossed this is accurate info.

  • CailinM

    I went to hospital short stay yesterday. In thru 2 sets of sliding doors, past cafeteria, elevator to 2nd
    floor, checked in.

    She: “Have you traveled in West

    Me: “No.”

    She: “Do you know anyone who has?”

    Me: “No.”

    She: “We’re asking everyone”

    Me: “Shouldn’t you be asking them outside the entrance?”

    She: “Oh yeah, I didn’t think about

    Not to worry, folks, we got it covered.

    • Corlyss

      A friend had the same experience in Seattle. Silliness abounds. So much for training every hospital.

    • Boritz

      It comes down to a checkbox on a form. If CDC, the press, or anyone else wants to know “Does this facility have an ebola screening process in place for incoming patients?”
      Answer: Yes
      On to next question.

  • Sibir_RUS

    Dr. Cyril Broderick, A Liberian scientist and a former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia’s College of Agriculture and Forestry says the West, particularly the U.S. is responsible for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Dr. Broderick claims the following in an exclusive article published in the Daily Observer based in Monrovia, Liberia. He wrote the following:
    The US Department of Defense (DoD) is funding Ebola trials on humans, trials which started just weeks before the Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The reports continue and state that the DoD gave a contract worth $140 million dollars to Tekmira, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, to conduct Ebola research. This research work involved injecting and infusing healthy humans with the deadly Ebola virus. Hence, the DoD is listed as a collaborator in a “First in Human” Ebola clinical trial (NCT02041715, which started in January 2014 shortly before an Ebola epidemic was declared in West Africa in March.
    Is it possible that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and other Western countries are directly responsible for infecting Africans with the Ebola virus? Dr. Broderick claims that the U.S. government has a research laboratory located in a town called Kenema in Sierra Leone that studies what he calls “viral fever bioterrorism”, It is also the town where he acknowledges that is the “epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”

    • Nick

      Must have been because Obama wanted it that way. He’s like Two Face from the Batman cartoons! Half good, half evil… And the evil part ordered ebola to be disbursed in Africa!

      By the way, there are meds available for your condition. But they may have come from the DOD.

  • FrancisChalk

    Of course the Liberian Government is lying, it’s full of Leftists. The core values of the left–ALL LEFTISTS–are lying, deceit and hypocrisy. There is no exception to this irrefutable fact.

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