Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ebola Statistics not as Deadly as Predicted?

*Notice: Before reading my current event article, I want to apologize first that this wasn't added to the blog till now. I was told after I uploaded this the first time that the current event didn't add to the blog and had I uploaded it again later. However, I only found out today that it still is not there. Recently, I've noticed that everything I've been uploading from my computer has not been working properly because of unknown reasons. This means that I must go back through every assignment to make sure that it has been successfully uploaded. I am sorry for this inconvenience and I will make sure that my computer is fixed as soon as possible.

Will Cioffi
Current Event Report

Fecht, Sarah. "Why The Ebola Epidemic Is (So Far) Less Devastating Than Scientists
 Predicted." Popular Science., 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

Ebola Statistics not as Deadly as Predicted?

Ebola. One of today’s worst fears. Ebola is a plague that infects a human and causes them to have symptoms of dehydration, diarrhea, and frequent bleeding to name a few. While there are more symptoms that I haven’t listed, these are the most noticeable and can be very deadly. As one might suspect from these three symptoms, the Ebola virus mainly targets a person’s body fluids, or in other words how much water is in that person. There is no cure, however there is a simple solution; one must intake as much water as one expels from the body through the excretory system, digestive system, and frequent bleeding. Despite the disaster of the Ebola plague, scientists estimated that it could have been much worse. In a popular science article that I read, editor Sarah Fecht provides other articles and evidence from both the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) suggesting that the scientists’ “doomsday prophecies” could have actually been true, if not worse. She provides three major factors to consider that could have made the situation much worse: supportive programs giving aid, unreported cases, and human tradition. In order for a plague to be eradicated, programs must give aid for the research and treatment, cases must be reported in order to stop further spread without the subject knowing it, and human traditions, such as kissing the dead during burial, must be suspended. According to the article, all these categories were overlooked and were overestimated. Models that represented a possible 20,000 dead by last November would be nothing compared to the real deal of 13,000 killed.

I, of course, do not need to explain in great detail that these numbers are significant; however, they should not be looked at as improvement but rather as a near-miss. The ideas explained in the article are important to understand because they could very well save us in the future. For example, human burial traditions have been going on for centuries. One simple plague, though, could infect an entire village (or city) because of a person, with inexperience or prior knowledge of an infection, performing a ceremonial act at a funeral. Imagine how much safer the village (or city) would be if these life saving lessons were to be taught and learned. It would make the war against Ebola more efficient.

At the end of the day, though, it is the lessons that count the most in order to spread awareness of the deadly disease. Take for instance this article. This article successfully made me realize the severity of this crisis. Through it’s organization of facts, specific statistics of major factors, and easy to understand summaries, Sarah Fecht has done a good job to spread important information that will maybe someday save lives. Overall, the article was an excellent read and would be suitable for teens and adults to read to learn about the Ebola outbreak.

1 comment:

  1. The most prominent aspect of this report is the quality of the writing; Will's voice has urgency and clarity, giving the issue a more significant light than it would have had. He was able to transition seamlessly from his ideas while simultaneously centralizing the report on its main purpose. Rather than sticking to an informative approach, Will offered a more personable way of communicating, influencing an impressionable audience for himself. I was surprised to hear about the vitality of the three aspects that prevented a significantly more catastrophic outcome; they provoked alarming thoughts of what could have happened if something had gone wrong financially or behaviorally. However, optimistic incentives could be taken from these as well since we now have the knowledge of what is so important and why. The only difference I would have liked to have seen in Will's report is more elaboration on his topic, even though he meets his points concisely and effectively. Altogether, this was an extremely well written report and proves its relevance and significance to science.