In the time it took for this information to reach my eyes, and then for me to type this article, more people died in the U.S. from drunk-driving than in West Africa from Ebola.
The West African Ebola outbreak is inconsequential.
Before you get all litigious with me, try and understand one simple thing: I don't care. Compassion and empathy (or the appearance of it) abounds aplenty in this world. No, I don't weep for the dead. The long sleep cannot be compared with suffering and death.
The region of West Africa is home to some 250 million people. Do I need to walk through the math to demonstrate that 730 deaths in a region projected to grow to some 450 - 500 millions by 2020 is inconsequential?
Poor living conditions, less than modern medical treatment, and a host of other local issues will drive the casualties higher than it would be in a Western country. It's similar to looking at casualties from the U.S. Civil War and then realizing more than half of those casualties were the result of shitty conditions.
Let's think about the real cause for alarm!
There are agencies and individuals moved to help people in West Africa, and that's fantastic and all, but there will be no solution. Any permanent fix for diseases would completely upend the corrupt system that governs, distributes, regulates, and profits from pain and suffering--curing something wouldn't make a lot of sense.
Raising alarm and inciting panic, however, is a very effective tool to stimulate medical profits for pharmaceutical companies and vaccine manufacturers. I'm not harping on conspiracy theories here, folks, but rather pointing out easily-verified facts. One glance at the relationship between disease-inspired panic and drug company profits should be enough to convince any rational being.
You can decide whether or not corporations and governments would use such information to their advantage (e.g. would they intentionally cause outbreaks?). Would it be equivalent to using controlled fires to prevent larger fires? It's only impossible if you buy into the whole sanctity of life stuff and think everyone in business and government buys into it, as well.
We'll find out soon enough.
When I see articles like this one, I can't help but wonder when we'll see the first Ebola outbreak in the U.S.--I'm sure there is plenty of discussion and where, when, and how this will occur. The article might as well be an advertisement for vaccination, as the NIH is already working on getting it ready.
There is far more incentive to have a wealthier Western country suffer an outbreak with a ready-to-deploy vaccine, courtesy of ABC Mega-Pharmaceuticals providing the dosages with only a slight possibility of a tainted supply. There's far more profit to be made that can be found in third-world areas, and that is the bare truth of why Ebola outbreaks continue to happen in these areas of the world.
Add these regional outbreaks to a list that includes biological experiments, genetic engineering, chemical and biological weapon programs, terrorism, dirty bombs, and anything else you can imagine that might be considered a threat by someone in any Western country...
A Cynical View: Plague is inevitable
There will be a global pandemic, a modern plague, that takes a toll on humanity. By a toll, I mean kills off a sizeable portion. Ultimately, it doesn't matter because short of utter annihilation, the human race will repopulate, repollute, and recorrupt itself when the plague has run its course.
Even the Black Death of medieval Europe left over half the population alive--way more than is needed to recover. Arguably, such outbreaks have a positive effect: the weakest are weeded out, leaving room for the stronger to rebuild. In our modern world where weakness is preserved, this natural control valve is short-circuited and weakness is allowed to prosper. What will that mean when the next plague strikes?