As a start, I need to put it out there that I’m not trying to down play the severity of this lethal disease. Lethal by definition, as it has a 90% strike rate, like a kamikaze pilot. I have a lot of sympathy for the families who are grieving for their passed brethren. But let’s get some perspective, shall we.
964 people has lost their lives to the disease. There are in excess of 7 billion people on earth, which looks like 7,182,000,000,000 in numbers. Considering that there was 219,000,000 cases of Malaria reported in 2010 of which approximately 1,200,000 resulted in deaths, maybe the WHO is losing the plot a little. And Malaria HAS a cure.
My post is based on the fact that I’m travelling to West Africa next week, more specifically Ghana and Senegal. For West Africa, is unlike South Africa, not a country but a whole region. Everyone and anyone who has an opinion about my well being are deeply concerned with the fact that I might contract this fatal disease. And I really appreciate the concern. I’m just trying not to be a wise-ass but a rational voice in the midst of somewhat irrational panic. In preparation for my visit a colleague has sent me an International guide as to how to avoid catching this fatal flu.
The disease has a few early symptoms which include fever, tiredness, headaches and diarrhoea. Very much like the symptoms a teenage boy would have when he considers asking a girl out on his first date. Except maybe the diarrhoea, but including excessive perspiration.
Later symptoms are much more severe and they include vomiting (which might contain blood), diarrheoa (which might contain blood), coughing (which may contain blood) and severe nose bleeds. (As quoted from pamphlet.) These symptoms are nothing like the symptoms experienced by a teenage boy when he asks a girl on a first date. Except for the nose bleed if the specific girl already has a boyfriend.
As I’ve mentioned, unlike Malaria, there is no known cure, except for the one the American’s have. Unfortunately you only have a 10% chance of seeing the next series of Game of Thrones, once you get infected with this bug on crack. Not the best odds, I must admit.
Fortunately there are a few cardinal rules one can follow and avoid catching the disease.
1. Do NOT touch the vomit, urine, blood or feaces of an infected person. Which is devastating news, as I normally do this kind of thing. If I therefore stop dealing with other people’s shit I should be fine. Got it.
2. Do NOT touch, kiss or wash dead bodies, especially those whom might have been infected. This is also a major disappointment as I’ve always wanted to touch a dead person.
3. Wash your hands often with soap. Again this is a revelation. Before I read this, I never knew people actually had to use soap to wash their hands. I assumed most people just placed their hands under running water and then dry it afterwards. At least now I know why they have that weird dispenser in public restrooms.
4. Do NOT eat Bats or Chimpanzees. This implies I’ll have to skip any KFC outlet for anything can be crumbed. Sometimes it’s just better to settle for a salad, unless you’re in India.
5. If you DO get sick, call a doctor and avoid any human contact. Again we need to thank the World Health Organization for informing us about the solution of contacting a medical practitioner if you don’t feel well. And here I thought doctors was just there to take my money and let me sit for three hours in a waiting room. How dumb am I?
6. And do NOT Google images of Ebola, for you’ll be sick for very different reasons. (And probably wouldn’t consider this post to be funny at all.)
I’m going to follow these instructions very closely, even if it means I’ll have to remove #1,2 and 4 from my bucket list.
But seeing that I’m not a dog, meaning I don’t go around sniffing other people’s asses, I can’t lick my own balls, I don’t dig around for bones and I don’t even eat my OWN vomit, I think I should be fine.
I’ll promise to be careful, besides there’s no way I’m missing the next series of GoT and my doctor confirms that my chances at winning the Lotto is far greater than me being on the news for catching Ebola.
PS – I’ve added a link about the disease.