Ebola, like AIDS, can be brought under control

ebolaUnfortunately, past Ebola virus disease outbreaks occurred mostly in African countries. Thus, there was little economic incentive for the private sector to develop an Ebola vaccine.

Ebola, like AIDS, can be brought under control

Ralph E. Stone Global News Centre

(SAN FRANCISCO)  My 19-year old son died of AIDS back in the early days of the AIDS pandemic. The hysteria surrounding the Ebola crisis reminds me somewhat of the hysteria in the early days of the AIDS crisis. There was a plethora of misinformation, risky rumors, blaming of the victim, and lots of finger pointing. At one time an AIDS diagnosis was a virtual death sentence. But as AIDS hit the United States and Europe, money poured into research. Now AIDS is largely treatable as a chronic illness although medications are costly.

Unfortunately, past Ebola virus disease outbreaks occurred mostly in African countries. Thus, there was little economic incentive for the private sector to develop an Ebola vaccine.

Now there is a fun political game going on in Washington D.C. called pin-the-tail on Barack Obama over the Ebola crisis. It is no coincidence that many are trying to turn the Ebola crisis into a political issue with the midterm elections just around the corner. By the way, didn’t Congress cut funds from the National Institute of Health possibly preventing an Ebola vaccine by now?

The World Health Organization (WHO) took the blame for failing to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, but the United Nations agency has been starved of resources to effectively respond in the first place. But WHO probably should have sounded the alarm earlier; it dropped the ball for months when it assured health officials the outbreak was under control. WHO is now finally ramping up efforts to prevent Ebola from spreading beyond the countries most affected by the deadly virus. However, WHO shares blame with richer countries like the U.S, which should have moved faster.

There will be more Ebola cases in the U.S. and Europe and if they are properly quarantined and cared for they will pose less and less risk to others. What we need to do is stamp out Ebola in West Africa by a bigger, coordinated effort to get the epidemic under control. And, ultimately, we need a lobby pressing for more government funding for Ebola research to find an Ebola vaccine.

What was needed during the AIDS crisis – and is needed now – is accurate and timely information to help people take precautions and take a more rational approach towards the disease. I am somewhat encouraged that the U.S. and the world health community is finally addressing Ebola as a health issue, not a political blame-game.

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stone-ralphGlobal News Centre writer Ralph E. Stone was born in Massachusetts. He is a graduate of both Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School. We are very fortunate to have this writer’s talents in this troubling world; Ralph has an eye for detail that others miss. As is the case with many GlobalNewsCentre.com writers, Ralph is an American Veteran who served in war. Ralph served his nation after college as a U.S. Army officer during the Vietnam war. After Vietnam, he went on to have a career with the Federal Trade Commission as an Attorney specializing in Consumer and Antitrust Law. Over the years, Ralph has traveled extensively with his wife Judi, taking in data from all over the world, which today adds to his collective knowledge about extremely important subjects like the economy and taxation. You can send Ralph an email at this address stonere@earthlink.net

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