Speaker updates students on Ebola crisis Reply

By Ryan Fitzgerald – Opinion Editor

On Tuesday March 10, Professor Donna A. Patterson came to speak about Ebola in Rosen Auditorium. Patterson described the past, present, and future of the disease by explaining the problems that led to its outbreak last year.

In 1976 one of the first outbreaks of Ebola came from the country of Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo. The contraction that led to the outbreak last year happened in December of 2013 starting with a two year old boy in Guinea. At the time, people didn’t know what it was or how to treat it.

Even when it was discovered that the disease was Ebola, African countries didn’t have a sufficient infrastructure or resources to combat it, allowing it to spread quickly throughout African countries and even enter the United States. By the end of December 2014, there were over 20,000 cases of Ebola.

Since December, the spread of the disease has been slowing, but as of March 6 there have been 23,014 cases with almost 10,000 deaths. However, Liberia, a country that was once infested with the disease, currently has no cases.

Although Ebola has decreased rapidly, people are expecting it to return to Africa at some point and many are beginning to leave certain countries. African countries will need to implement a better health care system for them to be able to fight the disease if it does make a comeback.

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