Don’t Kiss the Cadaver
Despite millions of dollars in research on vaccines and treatments, the deadly and frightening Ebola virus is best tackled today the same way it was during its first epidemic in 1976: With soap, clean water, protective gear, and quarantine. In fact, the care, treatment, and control of the virus is most effective when handled the way American physicians dealt with the 1918 influenza pandemic almost 100 years ago.
The outbreak now unfolding in Guinea — the first in West Africa in 20 years — has also spilled over into neighboring Liberia and possibly Sierra Leone. With 122 cases and 78 deaths reported to date, the epidemic has officially been declared a “regional threat.”* The West African region shares a vast tropical rain forest rife with virus-harboring animals, including rodents, bats, and chimpanzees.
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