Opinion: During this Ebola craze, step up your hygiene

Albert Fisler is a junior English major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Albert Fisler

For the past few weeks, one of the most frightening issues in the news has been the outbreak of the Ebola virus, which began in March of this year and was first spotted in West Africa, BBC News reported. The virus spread over the past few months with the total reported number of cases more than 8,900, while 4,493 have been reportedly dying from the virus, according to BBC News. However, the fight against the virus in Africa is a struggle, as the outbreak areas lack the proper equipment to contain the virus. The virus has spanned primarily across five countries: Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and the United States. 

However, one of two nurses who had treated a man in Texas arriving from Liberia, flew to Cleveland on Monday. Coincidentally, she happened to be a relative of three Kent State employees. Despite not showing symptoms at the time when she interacted with her Kent State relatives, out of caution the University has asked these employees to remain at home.

Sometimes when tragedies or disasters strike a world away, it’s difficult to empathize because we are so far removed. Yet, this is a reminder that Ebola is a dangerous virus, despite what medicine we currently have. However, BBC News reports that Canada, Britain, Russia and the United States have joined forces to create a vaccine. They are hoping to have one completed by December 2014 and distributed by early 2015. Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, just recently donated $25 million to the Center for Disease Control, which may be influential to the production of the upcoming vaccine. However, the vaccines will be limited at first, estimating at about 20,000, according to BBC News. Edward Wright of Westminster University told BBC News that health workers directly dealing with the virus would be the first to gain access to the vaccine.

Either way, here in Kent, it may be a good idea to step up hygiene and cleanliness as flu season approaches. I have faith a vaccine will be created to help curb the outbreak, but it is always clever to proceed with caution.