THE BLOG
08/22/2014 05:10 EDT | Updated 10/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Ebola Is a Controllable Threat

In the 14th century, the Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population -- at the time nearly 100-million people. 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.

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: