The (un)health that surrounds Ebola

Reblogged from Science on the Net

It is known that a virus like Ebola finds an ideal breeding ground of infection in weak healthcare systems. However, the fear of a large-scale European contagion is spreading. Although it is true that Ebola is really frightening, it is equally true that a comparison between a country such as Italy and countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is at least difficult to maintain. Tuberculosis, Malaria, HIV, low rates of vaccinations: the African ecosystem in which Ebola has developed is crippled, and the majority of its inhabitants are highly exposed to infections. How much crippled? The WHO data describe the incidence of major infectious diseases in the area and of the systems of vaccination.

As we have already pointed out, three out of the four affected nations – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – are among the poorest in the world, with much of the population without a salary. Three countries in which the health expenditure in 2012 has been less than 200 dollars per capita, while a country like Italy has spent 3,040 dollars per capita in the same year.

Moreover, as pointed out on August 5th by James Ball of The Guardian,“Since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in February, around 300.000 people have died from malaria, while tuberculosis has likely claimed over 600.000 lives. Ebola might have our attention, but it’s not even close to being the biggest problem in Africa right now.”

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