Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ebola vaccine

Apparently, they're working on one. Good. It can't come fast enough. Because then the good doctors and nurses and missionaries who go into the Ebola areas can be protected before they go. And people who live there who aren't so anti-scientific they think vaccines are of the devil, they can be protected. (And yes - apparently one of the issues in some areas of West Africa is that there's enough anti-Western-Science, pro-superstition beliefs that people won't get a vaccine that might save their life.)

Would I get it? Well, I live somewhere I'm highly unlikely to be exposed, but if I knew it was reasonably safe and effective, and if I felt there was a slight chance of exposure, yeah, I would. I'd want to be protected.

I admit that the slightly mean and snarky part of me wonders how the anti-vaccination types here (which range from the "my child is too special for the even small risk of a bad reaction, screw herd immunity" to the "vaccines are tools of capitalist fat cats that make money for the evil pharmaceutical companies, so I resist them, screw herd immunity" to the "God didn't intend us to stick disease in our arms, screw herd immunity" crowd)

(To that last one, my response is: "God gave the doctors and pharma researchers the smarts to figure out out. And vaccines may not be "natural" but polio is "natural" and I sure as shooting don't want polio")'

Because I think SOME of the anti-vaccination sentiment in the US comes from the fact that we've never really seen an awful and deadly and scary outbreak of a disease (especially one like polio that seemed to preferentially claim children). We've forgotten the reason why we fought so hard. (I see similar parallels in the small but alarming crowd of anti-water-chlorination people. Yes, there are some bad byproducts to chlorine exposure but trust me, cholera is a lot worse).

A lot of this thought was brought up by the fact that apparently there's someone in a Dallas hospital who may have been exposed while traveling. Dallas is not all that terribly far away, certainly it's within a day's drive. And I wonder: who else might that person have exposed before they got to the hospital, or while they were waiting there? How soon does someone become contagious when sick, and do we really KNOW?

Can you imagine: "Your child may have been exposed to Ebola; the librarian at their school just came back from missionary work in Africa and is showing symptoms." Or "All you professors teaching International Student X, you may have been exposed." Or, or, or....it's kind of scary.

I know some people are saying this is the Zombie Apocalypse that our pop-culture has so gleefully presented to us. I admit, I hate dystopian fiction and things like zombie shows because I'm all too good at imagining what it would be like if it REALLY happened, and I'm fearful that there could be a patient or two who travels around a lot, or goes to a crowded store, or goes to work for a few days, before realizing what they REALLY have, and then everything hits the fan all at once....

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