The Ebola crisis is a not only a war between Mankind and Disease (a viral disease this time) as always, but to me it is a battle between the Haves and Have Nots.

Historically Ebola has been around for many decades but since it was confined to the West African countries, the poorest of poor in the world – the true have nots, not much was said or done to tackle this disease. However, unfortunately this time not only has the spread of disease been ferocious, killing thousands of people in the endemic areas of West Africa but the battle has also shifted to Europe and the USA, the haves of the world, with a few mortalities there too. Because of this the WHO and other international agencies have woken up. Hopefully, within the near future, we will not only contain it but also find a preventive mechanism and cure for this deadly disease. We must commend the US for its courage in sending its troops to the affected countries, and it is also heartening to note that sworn enemies, the USA and Cuba, might join hands in this fight. This may be the only Silver Lining in this catastrophic epidemic.

It is time we take this epidemic with the seriousness it warrants. In my opinion it is as serious if not more serious than the Ukranian crisis and the ISIS crisis in Iraq and Syria. More people will die of this epidemic than the wars and also unlike the wars in the Middle East, this is likely to spread to the rest of the world quickly; thanks to the well connected tourism across continents, all the time .

We in India are fortunate not to have any case so far but sooner or later this disease will move in to our country .The danger of this disease is that it spreads by direct contact even after death and many customs of ours like hugging the dead, touching them and mourning with direct contact of the dead body are conducive to spreading the disease as was seen in the spread of the disease in Africa after the index case, a child who died, spread the disease at the time of the funeral due to some of the customs mentioned above.

We need to be on a war, footing to tackle this disease as it has one of the highest mortalities among viral diseases. The isolation precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the disease have to be extraordinary; it is good to be reminded that the disease had spread in the USA and Spain, even with excellent isolation precautions.
We need to act fast and robustly to do the needful before it strikes India and I am glad that the government has taken cognisance of this. High level meetings of the Health Minister and Cabinet Secretary have endorsed this too.

Let’s all join as a united world and get rid of this scourge called “EBOLA”

Regards,

Dr. H. Sudarshan Ballal MD, FRCP (UK)
Board Certified in Int Medicine, Nephrology & Critical Care (USA)
Medical Director & Chairman – Medical Advisory Board,
Director – Manipal Institute of Nephrology & Urology

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