Why Ebola keeps popping up in Africa – Pt 1

My worry is that the world is certainly coming to an end – never truly believed that phrase even when it is preached in church. To me it has become the normal saying of every pastor. Recently I have been forced to believe it thanks to all the atrocities going on in the world. I literally live with worry -always hoping not to hear bad news. What happened to our world?

As a child I played on the streets, bathed in the rain, played with tyres on the road, walked to school unescorted even had to walk past a cemetary. Today as an adult, I wouldn’t dare to walk on that same road. Sometimes I wonder how I did that as a child! Infact I did so many things children are not allowed to do these days thanks to lack of security. As a child we only had to worry about gbomo gbomo (kidnappers) but then we were taught not to talk to strangers (which we obeyed unlike kids of today) or eat food offered to us even when we visit relatives who – are supposed to “naturally not cause us harm”. We only ate their food after “the look” from my mother. My siblings and I would keep looking at her (with style) until we got the sign to go ahead and dig in. I remember doing this when we went to visit my grandmother in the village. My mum didn’t give me the look, she just said “come-on eat the food, she’s your mother”. Lol. Since that day I never bothered to get the look of approval each time my grandmother gave me food. I had a fantastic childhood – one I don’t see in children these days. Why? Because our world has turned upside down. Our children are over-protected. I certainly can’t blame anyone. Wait till I have kids – they will know the true definition of “extreme protection”.

The terrorism thing really gets to me – I just can’t keep calm once I hear an unpleasant sound. My first reaction is always “what was that?!” Even if it’s just a desk that fell or my neighbours kids playing rough. I like to be sure I’m safe. Do I really need this paranoia? Certainly not good for my sanity and health!

So today was doing my usual browsing trying to know what the latest is around the world especially at Mali since people were held hostage at the prestigious Raddison Blu. Then I stumbled on BBC news saying Ebola is back to Liberia. I was dumbfounded! But how on earth did Ebola get back to Liberia?

Well I decided to do some research on Ebola and how it manages to rear it’s ugly head and why always in Africa?

Source of photo: BBC

Source of photo: BBC

I just need to remind us that Ebola in the last outbreak that lasted over 12months killed over 11,000 people across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The Ebola virus is invisible to the naked eye and while I am not going to bore you with the symptoms and how one can be infected. I think by now everyone knows these details. Well if you don’t or you need a reminder, read this infographic by CDC.

Now alot of people with the flu and other minor illnesses will get symptoms just like Ebola and will panic alot. I know I did. I suddenly felt ill and even had some rashes appear on my lower back. I freaked out immediately suspecting Ebola mainly because a few days before them I had a visitor with tight links to First Consultant (the hospital where Ebola was first detected in Nigeria). My worry only subsided when I knew he was strong and hearty! To avoid worry it is important to know the difference between the usual flu and Ebola – click here.

Accoring to WHO (World Health Organisation), Ebola outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests. It was first discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976 since when it has mostly affected countries further east, such as Uganda and Sudan. The last outbreak started in Guinea, which has never before been affected, and it quickly spread to other countries. So how does Ebola manage to resurface after months and even years of extinction? I have done some digging around and here is what I found.

My own theory is that it starts with children. Naturally, children are clueless about dirt, infection and the likes. Watch a child use a toilet especially a female child – she would gladly sit on the toilet and even hold the sides of the toilet for support without a care in the world. Then she would run off and continue playing and even use the same hand to pick her food and eat if no adult is there to caution her to wash her hands. On the other hand, an adult female would most likely hang in the air to wee, hold it till she gets home, or do some thorough scrubbing if she can before using the toilet. An adult is thinking she doesn’t want a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) but a child doesn’t think infection. She just wants to wee!

This behaviour can be likened to how children would react to Ebola. Most children in Africa have heard of Ebola but the truth is they have no idea how bad it really is. Children are innocent but why does it seem like I’m kind of blaming them? Well i’m not blamimg just stating the obvious – Children are clueless.

Liberia was declared Ebola-free on 9th May, 2015 after it had gone 42 days with no new cases. 42 days? Really? I have never accepted 42 days as enough to declare any country Ebola-free (will write on this soon – hopefully). 2 months after being declared Ebola free, the body of a teenage boy was discovered and was confirmed to have the virus. People who came into contact with the boy were isolated and at least one of those isolated tested positive. The most recent case possibly discovered before 20th November, 2015 started with a 10-year-old boy who lives with his parents and three siblings – two of his direct family members have since tested positive. What no one is saying is where and how this children are picking it up. Here is a useful guide. My search for an answer continues (watch this space) but let’s not forget to talk to our childen about Ebola – use this guide.

Till I find an answer, #BeHSEWise