Along with the conflict between Israel and Palestinians, Russia and Ukraine, The Ebola outbreak has finally made it into the headlines.
First of all, it is difficult to say why it has taken so long to get there since the epidemics had been hovering in the background even before the football World Cup competition. Perhaps, it was this tournament that drowned it.
Secondly, I do not understand why this particular outbreak has turned out to be so catastrophic. It is indeed possible that the ease of dissemination of information through social media means that people got to know about this outbreak more than the previous ones. It has become the most common discussion on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp groups. I don’t ever remember a passionate discussion on any disease outbreak. But then, just five years ago, we could not have the same level of interaction through social media.
Middle East = Ctrl Ukraine = Alt Ebola = Del
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 30, 2014
What most people seem to believe for sure is that it is deadly and transmitted through bodily contact. I have learnt that there is a lot of panic at airports and the measure being taken seem to surpass those of anti-terrorism.
Any disease that is transmitted through bodily contact is bound to be of serious concern in densely populated areas such as Lagos, and in areas where the concept of personal space is alien.
As you would expect, people have turned to humour to demonstrate how much to need to avoid bodily contacts with others. I have to say that this is not unusual. The government itself have often used comedians and artists to drive home important messages. It is a quick way to raise awareness. People generally take everything with a sense of humour. I suppose that’s the best way to maintain sanity in the face of calamities. The last time I was in Lagos at a stand-up comedy show, the artists spent half of the time poking fun at Boko Haram and the other half ridiculing poverty. in any case, it seems to help.
Some people have even turned it into love stories or a way to prove one’s love. I would soon expect someone to come up with Ebola songs. Artists have easily produced songs mocking government policies or making a caricature of key political figures. I am sure that at some point, it will enter some Nollywood film.
While there is widespread advice on what food items to definitely avoid, there are also hot discussions regarding whether you can eat yourself out of Ebola.
Nigerians should avoid Suyas and eating of Bats, Monkeys, Bush meat. Ebola cannot be transferred via handshake #EbolaTips – Health Minister
— NTA News (@NTANewsNow) August 3, 2014
Rumours about cures for various diseases always spring up each time there is an epidemic. Very often, no one offers any medical evidence for these magic cure. Anything that is bitter seem to be the obvious candidates.
Fellow Nigerians, there is no evidence that bitter kola cures ebola. #ebolaFacgts Pls RT.
— ST (@seyitaylor) July 31, 2014
There are people who are out to make quick money out of it by offering their own versions of treatment. Out of panic, people will buy whatever. It is a kind of a demand and supply approach. People are gullible and there are those readily willing to exploit that.
And where will Africans be if they do not bring God and religion into it. while some are asking the hard questions:
What was this God watching while people died from #Ebola, I ask? Why does it always wait for scientists to discover stuff?
— Del_boi (@deezer234) August 4, 2014
What we know for sure is that there is currently no know cure for ebola.
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