Stercula: U.S. military should help stop Ebola


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On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” President Obama spoke with Chuck Todd about the Ebola outbreak in western Africa. Obama said Americans should not be worried about an Ebola outbreak in the United States in the immediate future. However, if the West African outbreak is left unchecked, it could become a global issue. The best way to stop this is at the source, in Africa, with the aid of the U.S. military.

Ebola virus disease is transferred from subject to subject by the transmission of bodily fluids. This disease has a 90 percent fatality rate, according to the World Health Organization. In America, these types of widespread transmissions are rarely an issue because of our substantial and effective public-health infrastructure. Any cases of infectious diseases that arise can be and are isolated, then treated immediately. The African countries now dealing with the Ebola outbreak do not currently have such infrastructures; therefore, the contagion is far more likely to spread.

Obama said that if the military provides equipment for properly isolating patients and treating them, as well as security for international health workers, the Ebola outbreak can be contained in a matter of months. However, Obama said, “If we don’t make that effort now, and this spreads not just through Africa but other parts of the world, there’s the prospect then that the virus mutates, it becomes more easily transmittable, and then it could be a serious danger to the United States.”

Some critics of this idea may contend that America doesn’t have enough money to take the lead in combating Ebola. But the projected U.S. military budget for fiscal 2015 totals more than $650 billion — more than three times what the international runner-up (China) spends on its military. Obama stressed that down the line, the Ebola outbreak could be a matter of national security. The military using some of its enormous budget to combat an issue that may not only threaten America but the entire civilized world is the best possible use of defense spending.

As for the fatalists who claim this outbreak is unstoppable and we should just ensure we stop it from crossing American borders, there are often scientific breakthroughs when we need them most. This entire conversation comes on the heels of news that a new vaccine is showing great promise and has been approved for human trials. In initial testing, test monkeys that were given the shot were protected from Ebola when exposed to it after five weeks, and half were protected after 10 months.

In a separate trial, all monkeys who were given both the initial shot and a booster shot (after two months) were protected after 10 months.

U.S. military intervention in regards to the Ebola virus is neither combative nor destructive. In a time in which so many Americans are concerned with our foreign interventions not providing enough rewards for the amount of losses we suffer, we finally have an opportunity — and a duty — to protect the civilized world, America included, from a global catastrophe.

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