Kenya is wrong on Ebola

On 13th August – the World Health Organization issued a statement putting Kenya on the list of ‘high risk’ countries for Ebola transmission. Reason being that Kenya airways have many flights to countries that already have a serious Ebola crisis.

Today- 14th august, President Kenyatta says ‘Kenya will not shun West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak…..’

The WHO tells us that as of 11th August – 1975 people have been infected with the virus and 1069 have died of it. The virus has spread from Guinea, to Liberia, Seirra leone and the latest deaths from Nigeria have been the result of one person flying from Liberia who was infected. As a result of that one person, 12 people in Nigeria are now infected and 3 have died.

Kenya Airways needs to stop the flights from countries with Ebola – and its not about shunning our brothers in West Africa. Its about protecting ourselves. Its just not worth playing brave with this virus – it has no respect for such. Ask the Nigerians.

Apart from that, there are a few interesting things about this virus …..

For one – this virus must also be changing as it is passed on to more and more people. The virus was said to kill 90% of infected people and was thought not to survive for long outside the human body. At the moment, the mortality rate from the virus stands at 1069 out of 1975 infected people, which is just slightly less than 55%. Is it possible that the virus having been passaged through many people is now changing? Is it perhaps getting less virulent but surviving for longer outside the human body? Viruses that are passaged through humans do loss some of their virulence – they become less deadly as they pass from human to human – perhaps this virus is changing.

and secondly- Serum(the watery part of blood) collected from people who have recovered from Ebola is also being used to treat the infected. A sign perhaps that a vaccine might be easy to develop and that it can quickly be put to use in the face of an new crisis?

I am sure immunologists are hard at work on this – on the science side of things – very interesting virus.