Opinion / From the Press

China, others must help stop Ebola

By Li Yang ( Updated: 2014-08-05 18:28

The developed countries and China should help the West African countries to stop the spread of Ebola virus, which will become a global threat to public health if not stopped in time, says an article in the 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpts:

The Ebola virus has infected more than 1,000 people and caused more than 600 deaths in West Africa. This is the most serious epidemic of the virus after it was first discovered in the 1970s.

Although the virus spreads mainly through contact infection and cannot spread over far distances easily, its fatality rate is very high. Worse still, there are no effective therapeutic medicines or vaccines to treat it so far. The countries of West Africa can only quarantine the infected villages to prevent its transmission.

The virus has mainly affected the less-developed countries of Africa since the 1970s. No effective prevention-and-control measure has been put in place to curb its spread in the remote villages of poor countries like Liberia. Once it enters West Africa’s main cities, the results will be unimaginable.

The Ebola virus poses a grave challenge to the medical infrastructure and to the ability of African nations to cope.

This public health disaster is not only a problem for West Africa but a warning alarm to the whole world that a global effort is needed to address the crisis.

Past experience indicates that only when a situation becomes urgent, through media exposure, will developed countries start providing funds and relevant medicines to help the poor countries. And once the urgency is eased, international assistance will be reduced, before the disease problems are solved completely.

The lack of medicine and qualified medical staff weakens the effectiveness of quarantines. Almost all serious epidemics in developing countries face similar problems. But the influence of disease goes beyond the developing countries.

Many Chinese workers, businessmen, engineers and tourists travel between Africa and China. China has close ties with African countries and should help those nations treat the disease and prevent the virus from becoming a threat to more people.

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