EDITORIAL: Fear, stigma around Ebola

The fear and stigma hearkens back to the early days of AIDS.

A B.C. company is playing a small role in the battle against the newest health scourge that is tearing through Africa and threatens to spread elsewhere.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals has linked up with an international consortium that includes representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Medecins Sans Frontieres to advance its development of a vaccine for Ebola.

Other companies are also working on vaccines. Some, including Tekmira’s, have reportedly already been used to treat patients, foreshortening the often long and arduous trials and regulatory approvals process.

The need to stem the epidemic is that urgent.

If the epidemic isn’t stopped, it could soon become endemic, a disease that will be forever entrenched in a region, ready to spread in a moment’s inattention.

WHO estimates there could be 1.4 million cases of Ebola in West Africa by the end of January. Meanwhile, there have been only a trickle of volunteers among the medical community of the western world.

The fear and stigma hearkens back to the early days of AIDS.

“We talk about stigma and ignorance in Liberia, but let’s be frank, there’s plenty of stigma and ignorance in our own countries, and irrational fear of being on the ground.

We have an obligation to counter that fear,” Sheldon Yett, the UNICEF country representative in Liberia, told the The Globe and Mail.

Hopefully, more will have the courage to volunteer. When proper precautions are taken, there is very low risk among those working at Ebola treatment centres.

Ebola is an awful, frequently fatal disease.

But we must act quickly and decisively, and not let fear prevent us tackling what could soon become the AIDS of our era.

– Burnaby NewsLeader

Just Posted

Neighbours fear impact of tent city residents on Goldstream Provincial Park

Langford residents opposed to campers voice concerns at campground gate

Victorians for Tranportation Choice survey Greater Victoria election candidates

Mayoral and council candidates from across Greater Victoria face 12 questions

Dementia Helpline seeks volunteers after dramatic increase in calls

First Link Dementia Helpline for those who lives with dementia or care partners

Province now allowing tent city campers to stay at Goldstream Park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no hard deadline for campers to leave, park open to public

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read