Viruses have become of great concern all across the
world in the last few decades. The most common and the most talked about killer
virus is AIDS, a virus that starts out as HIV and then proceeds to develop
into a immune breaker that ultimately kills its human host. So far, there
is no cure for AIDS, and most unfortunately the numbers of deaths from AIDS
only continues to grow. However, another virus has gained much public and
national attention. That virus is called Ebola. It is thought that Ebola’s
effect on humans is restricted to Zaire, Africa. Viruses that kill people
in large masses is a major threat to mankind; the only hopes of destroying
the viruses is dependant upon technology.
AIDS is a deadly disease
that most people understand as a sexually transmitted disease. In fact, the
virus can be transmitted sexually, but it can also be transmitted through blood
transfusions. The fact that it can be transmitted sexually causes a great
problem. Everyday, enormous amounts of people have sex–some people with different
partners. People may have less sex than before because of the threat that
the virus poses, but it has already started, and cannot be stopped until a
cure is found. Unlike Ebola, AIDS was not detected as early as one would
have hoped. The AIDS virus can stay dormant for over a decade before it is
noticed as a real problem (Shenon 8). During that decade, the virus can
spread like a wild fire. One person contracts the virus, transmits it to another,
and another, and so on. As Shenon explains, AIDS became recognized as a real
problem in the early seventies and was mostly concentrated in the United States
and in Africa, but surprisingly it reached Asia a decade
afterward. He goes
on to explain that AIDS has spread exponentially in Asia. Thailand, recognized
for its proliferation of prostitutes and illegal promotion of sex with children,
could be held responsible for the tremendous outbreak of the virus in Asia,
explains Shenon. He also points out that now that the virus has already broken
out, Asia has the best AIDS prevention agenda in the world (8). For now
the best prevention of AIDS that is available is education and protected sex.
Until a cure is found for the ruthless virus, this is the only means of prevention
that is available to the public.
Ebola is one of the most rapidly
fatal viruses on the planet and is believed to have begun somewhere in Zaire,
Africa (Altman 3). There is no positive explanation as to how the virus is
spread. When the virus is contracted by humans it causes hemorrhagic fevers
and becomes extremely transmittable (A Case of Deadly Virus 4). Like the AIDS
virus, Ebola has no cure. The only advantage of prevention that Ebola has
over AIDS is that it does not stay dormant for decades therefore, it can be
isolated much quicker. Being able to isolate the virus in one town or country
makes the termination of it much easier. It seems inevitable that the two
most deadly viruses in the world are contracted by the idea of self preservation.
As stated earlier, AIDS is transmitted sexually, and Ebola is widely spread
through the consumption of chimpanzee meat that is a common delicacy in Asia
(A Case of Deadly Virus 4). Just as sex is an act that is very widespread
all around the world, eating chimpanzee meat in Asia is som
ething that is
very common. It is very hard to stop the spread of a disease when it is spread
by something that seems “second nature” to a person. The action that probably
ultimately stopped the virus from spreading to neighboring countries is the
fact that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the WHO (World Health Organization)
were prompt to go the scenes of outbreak and begin studying the virus (A Case
of Deadly Virus 4). When just one man became infected with the disease in
the western Ivory Coast, the WHO were on the case to examine the problem (A
Case of Deadly Virus 4). Unfortunately, the people that are trying to stop
the spread of the virus and those who are close with the victims are those
people that have the greatest chance of being infected (Altman 3).
After a great deal of studying the ways that the virus is spread, it became
evident that there are other ways to become infected except by the eating of
chimp meat. As depicted by Altman, scientists do not believe that the virus
can become full blown like the common cold or influenza (3). It is known that
the virus can become attached to droplets in the air, but the amount needed
to be infected through the air is uncertain (3). Other ways of contracting
the disease is through urine, contaminated blood, and through feces (3). The
masses of underdeveloped villages in Asia is a breeding grounds for the Ebola
virus for many reasons. Many people walk around with no shoes on and therefore
contract the disease by stepping on the feces. Water is one of the prevention
measures that is taken to help prevent the spread of the virus and there is
little, if any, running water in the undeveloped villages (Altman 3). WHO
claims that the Ebola virus is over in Zaire (Altman 3). The entire world is
te that the Ebola virus did not spread as quickly as it could
have. Much respect is owed to the scientists and researchers who worked diligently
to isolate the virus.
The problems of the two viruses that have been
discussed can be contrasted to the sicknesses that are discussed in the Bible.
The Bible in many places mentions tremendous outbreaks of killer plagues.
Technology and the recognition of diseases and sickness is much better than
it was in Biblical times. But somehow the plagues of Biblical times were overcome.
It could be that the AIDS virus will just die out over time or the human race
will eventually build up an antibody to the virus. AIDS could be the pinnacle
of all diseases to ever exist because it would be most unlikely that humans
will build up an immune to a virus that does nothing but destroy the immune
system until the organism that it lives in can no longer live. As for now,
not knowing if and when the AIDS virus will be over, technology and research
must keep working to find a cure for the ruthless virus. To the many people
the Ebola virus did not affect, they should now realize how vulnerable their
life and the entire human race reall
y is. Viruses will probably always exist,
but as long as they do, technology must continue to move on even where there
seems to be no hope of finding a cure. Technology is the only answer to ending
what has already begun.
Altman, K. Lawrence. “New Skin Test
will Help Track Ebola Infection in
Remote Areas.” New York Times
September 19,1995 C3.
Shenon, Phillip. “AIDS Epidemic, Late to Arrive,
Now Explodes in
Populous Asia.” New York Times January 21, 1996
“A Case of Deadly Virus Reported in Ivory Coast.” New York Times
December 9, 1995. sect.A 4.
“10 in Gabon Die of Ebola after Feast
of Chimp Meat.” New York Times
February 17, 1996 sect.A 5.