Archive for Danger

Weird Video of the Week

Posted in Animation, Death, Poetry, Uncategorized, Weird Videos with tags , , , , , , on October 10, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

This week our delve into the creepy part of YouTube takes us to a whimsical animated list of all kinds of things that will kill you. Someone working for CollegeHumor is very talented! Have a great weekend!

The 2014 Ebola Outbreak

Posted in Dangerous Diseases, In the News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 6, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

ebola-disease1For those of you living under a rock on the surface of Mars with your eyes closed and your ears covered, there’s an outbreak of Ebola in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and now Nigeria. New cases have sprung up in Lagos, one of Nigeria’s largest cities. So far there have been 1700 suspected or confirmed cases, has claimed 932 lives, and two American aid workers have also contracted the disease.

Now of course this is a terrifying, tragic event for anyone affected. I’m not here to make light or revel in the very real death and despair of fellow human beings, but I’d be lying it I said this wasn’t interesting for me. Ever since I was young I’ve found it fascinating how dangerous diseases like Ebola make us mortals react. One of my favorite classes in college was a disease history class where I learned about how it has affected human culture, medical practices, and overall views of mortality. I’m curious to see how this outbreak affects our world in the long term.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ebola, here are the basics. Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever, a type of disease that causes internal and external bleeding, and has a mortality rate of up to 90%. It’s spread through bodily secretions like blood, sweat, tears, semen and more, easily contaminating surfaces as well. Oftentimes it’s family members and medical professionals contracting the disease because of their exposure to a patient or family member. There is no vaccine and no effective treatment or cure.

For more detailed information, I recommend checking out both the WHO’s and the CDC’s website about the outbreak.

According to the news, the reaction of populations affected by the disease has played a part in its spread. Families naturally look after their own when illness strikes, and many are unwilling to put them under the care of strangers. Burial practices in West Africa also require mourners have close physical contact with the body, like touching, washing, and kissing. Rumors about the intentions of medical professionals have also caused tensions. Many West Africans have little faith in their governments and mistrust Westerners. Some fear that the disease has been brought to them by Westerners, others fear that if they give up their sick relatives, they will never be seen again.

Conspiracy theories also abound, from doctors experimenting on the sick to stealing organs and body parts, to officials profiting from the outbreak by pocketing foreign aid money. Another rumor circulating is Ebola is some kind of bioweapon spread through the water. Even accusations of witchcraft are swirling around.

It’s pretty sad to see how a lack of trust can erode the efforts of medicine and government. Apparently West African governments need to work much harder to regain the trust of their people. It’s impossible to say if the West could ever achieve that.

So is there any way that this virus could pose a greater threat to the rest of the world? There’s a lot of banter going around about that question. The CDC has been assuring the public that the virus poses little danger for other countries due to it’s manner of transmission. However, Mother Nature can be vicious sometimes, and the more the disease spreads the more likely it could mutate and gain new traits. Much like how flu strains change every year, Ebola could become more virulent or become airborne, or resistant to treatment. The chance is slim, but in the realm of possibility.

In any case, the worse Ebola outbreak in history still rages on.