THE BLOG

Ebola Is a Controllable Threat

08/22/2014 05:10 EDT | Updated 10/22/2014 05:59 EDT
bortonia via Getty Images

In the 14th century, the Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population -- at the time nearly 100-million people. In 2013 alone there were 8.7-million new cases of tuberculosis and over 2 million new cases of HIV. Every year there are over 200 million malaria cases, and over 90 per cent of all malaria deaths occur in Africa.

And then there is Ebola, which has infected over 2,400 and so far killed 1,229. True, this is the largest, most severe outbreak of the disease we have seen, but that doesn't mean this isn't controllable. It has gripped thousands of lives in West Africa, and is scaring thousands more around the globe. Borders in the area have been blocked off, schools and hospitals have been closed down, and many cities and towns within the region are in states of emergency. In Africa and around the world, panic has been transmitted faster than the disease.

But in reality the disease is rare. If people practice careful hygiene and avoid contact with blood and body fluids of infected people or animals, the risk of contracting Ebola is very low. Ebola is the enemy, but it is being facilitated by fear and ignorance. The lack of preparedness in the infected and at-risk populations and weak infrastructure in the affected countries has become the real culprit.

Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the countries hit hardest by the virus, simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this scale on their own. At the same time, with the global movement of people diseases like this can't be easily contained in isolated places anymore. Without concerted international support, it could easily spread to other areas.

Good news is that many countries are realizing that Ebola is not just an African problem. The United States, Canada, and China, among other countries have sent squads of health workers and aid to help halt the spread. This is precisely how the world should respond to global threats. It is our collective responsibility to help address this and all major health problems. With the World Health Organization in the lead, International Geneva is on its toes and ready to make sure we wipe this threat off the map.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberia security forces patrol in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberia security forces blockade an area around the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberian security officers dressed in riot gear, right, control a crowed of people in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberia security forces, blockade an area around the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in city Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberia security forces in riot gear, blockade an area near the West Point Ebola center as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents.(AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian riot policemen enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Family members of West Point district commissioner Miata Flowers flee the slum while being escorted by the Ebola Task Force on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military was called in to extract the commissioner and her family members from the seaside slum after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The military also began enforcing a quarrantine on West Point, a congested slum of 75,000, fearing a spread of the epidemic. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Local residents protest as Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The government ordered the quarantine of West Point, a congested seaside town of 75,000, on Wednesday, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for allowing a holding center for suspected Ebola patients to be set up in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    People gather as Liberian security forces walk past in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberia security forces dressed in riot gear, left, control a crowd of people in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Liberian security officer patrols in the West Point area, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Liberian soldiers patrol in the West Point area as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Residents from an area close to the West Point Ebola center, protest as they are not allowed to enter the area leading to their homes, after Liberia security forces blocked roads, as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Security forces deployed Wednesday to enforce a quarantine around a slum in the Liberian capital, stepping up the government’s fight to stop the spread of Ebola and unnerving residents.(AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberia's police chief Clanence Massaquoi (3L) speaks to residents of the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. A quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Residents watch as Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Residents watch as Liberian security forces, part of the country's Ebola Task Force, enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The quarantine of West Point, a congested favella of 75,000 people, began Wednesday, as the government tries to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. A mob overran and closed an Ebola isolation ward there on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The government ordered the quarantine of West Point, a congested seaside town of 75,000, on Wednesday, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for allowing a holding center for suspected Ebola patients to be set up in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Members of Liberia's Ebola Task Force ride in the back of a pickup as they enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
  • John Moore via Getty Images
    MONROVIA, LIBERIA - AUGUST 20: Local residents protest as Liberia's Ebola Task Force enforce a quarantine on the West Point slum on August 20, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The military began enforcing a quarantine on West Point, a congested favela of 75,000, fearing a spread of the Ebola epidemic in the capital city. Liberian soldiers were also sent in to extract West Point Commissioner Miata Flowers and her family members after residents blamed the government for setting up a holding center for suspected Ebola patients in their community. A mob overran and closed the facility on August 16. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,200 people in four African nations, more in Liberia than any other country. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)