Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Ebola Tombola

Professor Ebola Mugumbo searching for the 'cure'

We haven’t heard much of the ebola scare of late. But a scant few months ago it was all over the news. Vaunted as the ‘Doomday Bug’, we were constantly regaled by swivel eyed scientists and politicians about how we were all going to die, horribly, horribly…… Then something new bumped ebola from the front pages. It might have been images of decadent Westerners getting their heads sawn off, I can’t actually remember.

There is no doubt that the ebola virus is particularly virulent with a 90% kill rate. But sober appreciation is required. Since 1976, an estimated 2,500 people worldwide have succumbed to the disease. Contrast this with the 30,000 deaths in the US alone due to influenza, per year. However, unlike influenza, there is no evidence that ebola is an airborne pathogen which can be passed on by coughs and sneezes. Indeed, direct contact with bodily fluids is required for the virus to be transmitted. Even then, the virus has to enter through a cut in the skin or by contact with mucous membranes. 

Few in the West fear the influenza virus, although the avian strains detected 10 years ago provoked a similar 'panic button' response. It is salutary to recall that the 'Spanish flu' of 1918 killed 100 million people and accounted for more than five times the deaths suffered in the First World War.

Decades of conflict, poverty and lack of modern medical facilities are the likely explanation for ebola's prevalence in West Africa. Poor hygiene and traditions of close contact with dead relatives don't help. Funeral traditions often require relatives to wash the corpse multiple times over several days. Paradoxically, the deadliness of the disease and the rapid onset of symptoms to death limit the ability of the disease to spread. Countries with a modern infrastructure, efficient medical systems and sanitary living conditions have little to fear. One positive aspect of the 'scaremongering' has been the prodigious effort placed by Western governments and health care systems into developing vaccines. Candidate vaccines are currently undergoing animal trials and it is predicted that an effective treatment for the ebola virus will be available later this year. Shame that an antidote can't be found for the epidemic of strife, ignorance and economic ruin which runs rampant through much of the Dark Continent. Alas, I fear there is no known nostrum for these ills.

Cured by Ipod Mugumbo. That'll be three chickens- thank you very much


  1. I demand royalties for your unauthorised use of my bus-pass photo at the head of this article...

    Otherwise, it all reminds me of the doomsday scenarios propagated in the early 1980's regarding AIDS, all saying there would be streets full of corpses by the turn of the century...

    1. Bloody 'ell Ted, and there was me a thinking that everyone coming out of the 'Black Country' was beautiful and perfectlly formed like my good self. I'm willing to send you the gelt, just spend it on cosmetic surgery.

    2. I didn't say it was a good likeness - just a bus-pass picture.

      I'm as beautiful as Aynuk or Ayli...

  2. Having just spent several weeks travelling across Africa by train (3,700 odd miles), there are countries where 75% of the population has HIV. But they're not dying from it thanks to all the money the drugs companies are making selling pills to them.

    The whole world is overpopulated. Africa is a shithole where there's nothing to do but breed more kids - average is 6 per couple.

    I had great hope for Aids, but I was disappointed. We need to stop reproducing or we're fucked but it's all right for you Nuzzies. You've got loadsa space!!! (You lucky bastard)

  3. Indeed Mr D, there is no doubt that the continent of Africa is one great big shit hole. I confess that Nuzzieland is blessed. The South Island is about the size of England but with a population of 900,000. But promise you wont tell anyone- I don't want the ploppies moving here.