Op-ed: As fear of the deadly virus Ebola spreads western authorities are treating any incoming traveller with suspicious symptoms as a potential Ebola threat. In Canada a person who arrived in the country with flu-like symptoms, which could be nothing more than flu but could also be the deadly virus, was quickly transferred to quarantine facilities. His departure destination was Nigeria but in time it could be that passengers from almost any country arriving with Ebola type symptoms are quarantined. Such is the fear of this almost always fatal disease.
According to the Independent "A hospital [Brampton Civic Hospital] in Ontario, Canada, has isolated a patient with flu-like symptoms after the person was revealed to have recently travelled from Nigeria – one of the Ebola-hit areas. The measure is just a precautionary one and the patient has not yet been diagnosed with the deadly disease – a virus with a mortality rate as high as 90 per cent and which has swept through west Africa killing 961".
Until recently it was contained in countries of Africa. On that continent it has crossed borders and spread as the death toll has risen quickly and significantly.
In what could be viewed as either sensible, or lunatic, two infected Americans, and one such person from Spain, have been transferred back to their home country for life-saving treatment. Read - GM tobacco may cure Ebola
At time of writing treatment is in the experimental stage but in the USA the patients have responded well. In effect they are human guinea pigs who researchers can test potential Ebola treatments on.
Once you have contracted this dreadful disease any treatment however vague must be worth considering. The patients were transported with strict security and every effort was made to contain the Ebola. You may think it would have been better to send the research team to Africa but if they had contracted that disease and as a result died that would mean less brains to resolve this terror.
But if the suspected Ebola case in Canada turns out to be real that shows that the disease could spread easily without any help. Will flight restrictions have to be put in place globally? Will Ebola end up the 21st Century plague and wipe out millions? Do religious fanatics believe it is sent from God as some form of retribution? Will scientists find a cure before it is too late? Will researchers discover a preventative vaccine? If new wonder drugs are created will they be available to all or just those with enough money? Was the Ebola virus created in a western lab and let loose in Africa?
Many questions but, at time of writing, no real answers.