Monday, 11 August 2014

My opinion on Ebola


In society, the general consensus is that we trust scientists. Well, you would think we do anyway. I recently saw a tweet (on twitter, obviously) that said panicking about Ebola despite scientists saying there's no reason to is silly and that when it comes to real threats like Global warming, we choose to ignore them. Why is this?

If we actually listened to the scientists (you know, the experts) instead of the media, there might not be so much panic. The media feed off giving people terrible news and watching us all fall apart, because that's how they get attention and make money. Whilst Ebola is a real virus and can have devastating effects, scientists have repeatedly informed us that it is not as widespread as the media may make us believe. So far there have been reports of Ebola taking people's lives and as awful as this is, it does not mean we are all going to die. Remember the whole bird flu thing and how civilisation survived? Yeah, me too. #BirdFluSurvivor.

The recent outbreak started in West Africa. I've noticed that the media has focused a lot on 'What happens if it comes to the USA/UK?'. The countries in West Africa that it has so far affected do not have the same medical facilities as we have. The lack of medicine, running water and care all contribute to the spread of the disease and that is why countries such as Guinea and Sierra Leone are so unfortunate in contracting Ebola. If we do want to make sure that there are no more outbreaks of the virus, then the true answer is not to invent a new vaccine every time there's an outbreak but to tackle the lack of facilities and treatment in less economically developed countries where diseases spread more easily. I believe it's a political issue as much as a scientific one. We are very lucky to live in economically developed countries where we have a better chance of survival.

Personally, my favourite thing about this whole Ebola malarkey is that the media don't tell us what it actually is, only that we should be deathly afraid of it. You think that you should be able to trust the news however the exaggeration of morbid facts is the only thing they are concentrating on. Giving statistics of how many people have died is just a way to make people scared. Ebola is a virus that makes people ill and in some cases can be fatal. It is simply that. Whilst focusing on Ebola statistics we forget that there are far more deadly diseases in the world. How many people die due to Malaria each year? I was reading the World Health Organisation's 2013 Malaria report and found:

  • 97 countries had ongoing Malaria transmission in 2013.
  • 3.4 billion people are at risk of Malaria. 
  • There were 207 million cases of Malaria and 627000 deaths.  
These facts are shocking, yet we're so used to them that we don't worry. The main point is that we are scared of the unknown. In places such as the UK, it's rare that we come across diseases such as Ebola, so when we do there is uproar. However we've all learnt about malaria at school, we know it exists and how it's transmitted and what the effects are. We also know that in the UK we aren't really at risk from it, so why worry about it? 

Basically, I believe there are more threatening things out there than Ebola. I mentioned previously that one of these is Global Warming. So, if you do want a scientific topic to panic about, it's Global Warming, that pesky little issue we all choose to ignore that actually poses a real threat. Personally, I'm no expert on global warming. However if you want to read more, please visit Becky's blog at:

http://prettysciencestuff.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/bad-media-and-climate-change.html
She writes a lot about Earth Science and animals, so if you're into that, she's definitely worth following.
:-)


WHO Malaria Report 2013
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