Opinion

Be benign toward abroad diseases, everyday struggles

I will admit to being a germaphobe. When I hear any news of avian flu or malaria spreading anywhere in the world, my first instinct is to sprint to the bathroom and wash my hands. 

You can imagine my horror when I learned that patients with Ebola were brought to the United States. But this time I decided to get all my facts straight before rushing to CVS to stock up on hand soap.

Ebola is a highly infectious virus that causes severe internal bleeding and is often fatal (yeah, I’m almost out the door). Humans contract Ebola through contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals or people, such as blood, sweat and feces. No Ebola vaccine has been discovered yet, and although an experimental drug ZMapp exists, researchers are still testing its efficacy.

The largest Ebola outbreaks abroad have taken place in Guinea, Sierra Leon and Liberia. The two Americans who recently contracted Ebola, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, served as missionaries in Liberia and volunteered at an Ebola clinic. 

As soon as the American government learned about their diagnoses, the CDC and American Defense Department sent a specially designed containment jet to transport them to Emory University Hospital in Georgia. Both Americans were given the experimental drug ZMapp and recovered quickly.    While it is extremely fortunate that the US has the resources to save these patients from such a deadly virus, ours is still one of the only countries that has such luxuries. Until these two Americans contracted Ebola, the spread of this fatal disease was not at the forefront of my mind. Outbreaks of viruses like Ebola are harsh realities for many African communities, and our ignorance of these humanitarian crises is shameful. Although disease doesn’t come with the “loud” death toll that war seems to carry, it still silently kills thousands abroad every day.

It’s unfortunate that until something escapes from Pandora’s Box and enters our country, most of us go on with no idea that it exists somewhere else in the world. Of course, after an event like this, it is highly unlikely that Americans are lining up at airports to volunteer in Ebola clinics. 

However, we can all try to limit the curtain of American isolationism by supporting government funding for vaccine and drug research and development. Although it does not currently affect American citizens, the possibility exists that Ebola could cross the ocean to our continent. 

As a nation with the money and minds to discover new drug capabilities, it only seems right that the United States allot resources to this cause.

At the very least, we should all take some time to appreciate that we do not wrestle daily with the burden of disease like people in developing countries must. 

Because today’s world is more interconnected than it has ever been before, we should be aware of what occurs abroad, sympathetic to those in need and extremely grateful that most of us do not face the same daily struggles.

Nayna Shah is a sophomore majoring in biology.

September 3, 2014

Reporters

Nayna Shah


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ With the first ever early signing period just two we ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

The Hurricanes and Colonials square off at noon Saturday in Washington, D.C. ...

University of Miami men's basketball player Chris Stowell is an active member in the Hurricanes ...

Eighteen Hurricane student-athletes graduated from four schools and colleges at the University of Mi ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.