Outbreak! We’re all going to die of Ebola (or the movie Outbreak)

Many reports have, of late, warned about outbreaks of Ebola (a.k.a. ebolavirus, EBOV, SEBOV & ZEBOV, etc.). Some warn of impending epidemics in places such as the United States. Luckily, the Zombie Apocalypse will have killed us all before that happens. As we all know (or should know, thanks to readily available scientific information resources such as the Resident Evil franchise, the show Walking Dead, the brilliant Shaun of the Dead, ad infinitum), zombie infections aren’t just about transmission. Zombies actively engage in violent, determined actions that infect healthy subjects. Typically, infection can be caused via saliva, blood, bad plots, interesting special effects, and watching reality TV. Ebola likewise requires a transmission of bodily fluids (but cannot be caused by bad plots or worse TV); however, victims typically don’t ravenously seek to eat the non-infected or otherwise engage in behaviors that will transmit their disease. Basically, perhaps the most feared virus on Earth is harder to catch than the cold, the flu, HIV, etc.

Better yet, unlike many diseases, those infected with the Ebola virus don’t infect others until the present symptoms. This makes it vastly easier for health organizations to track, isolate, and stop outbreaks. Of course, that requires health organizations. This is why it is in places like Sierra Leone that we find outbreaks of Ebola.

Yes, Ebola is very, very lethal if you catch it. However, it isn’t a virus that spreads rapidly, with little or no warning, and isn’t capable of wiping out hundreds of people in countries with several health organizations (governmental and non-governmental organizations). However, it is just alien enough, with perfect media/blockbuster coverage, and shrouded in myth to motivate mainstream news outlets to sensationalize nothing, spin it into something, and make that something into a health crisis for cash. Hey, it’s not like we have peer-reviewed research going back to the ~1980s that “exotic diseases” from Africa like Ebola are cause for serious concern (Lassa fever, Marburg, and Ebola, virus diseases and other exotic diseases: Is there a risk for Canada?). Yay.

Seriously, though, the zombie epidemic is a real problem. The only solution is to cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, cancel your cable subscriptions, cancel all water-cooler talk, and donate all your money to my research to prevent the zombie apocalypse.

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