A2: Microbes in the News(#3)

Ebola Toll Tops 700 in DR Congo

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Summary
Since last August, the second deadliest Ebola outbreak in history (the first being the the epidemic of 2014 that resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 people in Africa and Europe) has pervaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On April 6, the Congolese government confirmed that the deaths due to the most recent outbreak has surpassed 700. Furthermore, 100 of those deaths occurred within the first week of April.

In an attempt to control the spread of the disease, government officials have began vaccinating their citizens on the grand scale. With over 95,000 receiving the newly-developed vaccines by Merck to prevent the spread of the disease, a bright hope looms over the people of Congo.

All is not well for the government of Congo on the contrary; armed insurgency from Guerilla groups as well as rural communities’ resistance to receive medical treatment and vaccines have posed a serious risk to the exacerbated spread of the disease. In fact, because of public distrust for the government, more than a quarter of the people living within the cities of Beni and Butembo believe that Ebola doesn’t even exist!

Connection
In class, we learned a lot about pathogenicity, virulence, and even immunity.

Ebola is a pathogen with a high level of virulence. With such a high death rate from previous outbreak data, there is a high priority for such a population like that within the DR Congo to become vaccinated.
Furthermore, the concepts discussed in this article regarding mass vaccinations contributes to the idea of heard immunity. Since the government is stepping in to provide its people with the first ever effective vaccines for the disease, it is in the best interest to vaccinate as many people as possible against the virus for the sake of providing herd immunity and benefiting those who haven’t received the vaccine.

Critical Analysis
While Ebola may be contained within the northern region of DR Congo, it’s only a matter of time before it spreads elsewhere. Even more so, an effective vaccine has been developed for the virus and people within a country affected by multiple outbreaks of the disease are not even interested in what could be a solution to their future Ebola problems.

Although most resentment towards vaccination is stemmed towards distrust of the government of Congo, people should also be informed of the effects of herd immunity and how it could not only protect the people and their loved ones against the spread of diseases not limited to Ebola but potentially other harmful pathogens as well.

Question
Now that there is an effective vaccine against Ebola, should the government of Congo mandate that its people receive it?

Article can be found here.

4 Comments for “A2: Microbes in the News(#3)”

jhmaynard

says:

I’m always for forced vaccines for everyone in every country. Of course if you cant receive to vac because you allergic to it or something like I’m cool with it #herd immunity. I could careless if your Imaginary friend you prey to thinks it’s a bad idea….those people should be vaccinated twice lol. Love the story, kind of crazy we don’t hear about this on the tv news.

escarpenter

says:

This is so terrifying. I have seen the effects of viruses in third world countries and it is honestly really scary. I have had Malaria infected children come up to me, and not been able to do anything about it. In places like there where people live in conditions that are not as sanitary, sicknesses like Ebola, and many others thrive. Forced vaccines would create a lot of anger, but honestly I think in some cases should be required.

apstrachan

says:

I agree with your analysis many people don’t get vaccinated over fear of that they have heard. Some others also believe getting vaccinated is a way for the government to control them (population control). I actually do research on vaccine developing and one of our goals to create safer and more effective vaccines. This may help with reducing the vaccine controversy as we would be able to target specific viruses to end spreading. As to your question I do think the government should mandate this vaccine against ebola but they should educate the people first. Explain why it’s necessary to get vaccinated explain to them how our immune system would be able to fight out the virus through antibodies if ever exposed to it again. Many people take different routes to avoid being vaccinated (holistic approaches/ alkaline diets) although these may help the body these approaches don’t create antibodies for long term resistance. I hope they get vaccinated, or at least get their children vaccinated. They see so many deaths occurring around them you would think that would be enough evidence to get vaccinated.

psstone

says:

I agree with everything that has already been commmented about how the government should mandate vaccination, especially for a virus as terrible as Ebola. Not to say that you Alexander or anyone else should have an answer, but how should we deal with the mistust of the DRC governement. It is hard to blame these people for not trusting their government when the country is notoriouse for corruption and civil war. It’s possible that even if everyone in the Congo was educated about the benefits of getting vaccinated they still would choose to reject the vacines put out by the government. Is there a solution for this specific instance to make the general popultion more open to vaccines?

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