Thursday, October 2, 2014

Life is Different Here

There is much discussion in the media about how the Ebola patient in Dallas could have contracted the disease.  There seems to be skepticism about the frequency of body fluids transmission in the course of normal daily life.  Life is so different in West Africa and there is no comparison with life in the U.S.

Look closely at Nancy Snyderman.  The NBC doc is  on location in Monrovia now.  Her on-location reports show her standing outside in the heat and humidity of West Africa - the TV makeup has dissolved, her hair is hanging in damp hanks and she is visibly sweating! A very different picture from her composed, impeccably dressed and made up appearance from air conditioned TV studios in the U.S.!

SWEAT is a bodily fluid and it drips off the body constantly in the West African environment of high heat and humidity. Sweat combined with Liberian customs involving touching, Liberian living conditions that allow for NO personal space, NO air conditioning either in homes or transport, as many as six people packed into the back seat of a taxi, open air markets the only option for food shopping with no sanitized water for frequent hand washing - all those factors make conditions favorable for transmitting Ebola.

Here in the comfort of N. American we live and work mostly indoors with air conditioning.  We drive our own personal air conditioned cars, shop in controlled environments and even public transport allows for large margins of personal space so there is virtually no physical contact - living in the U.S. simply does not allow for physical contact with others on a regular, day to day basis.

In addition, we also have an ingrained habit of hand washing and/or sanitizing with gels and such, at frequent intervals throughout the course of a normal day - and, most importantly, the water we use is clean.  All are conditions we take for granted and unthinkingly assume are available to everyone everywhere.  None of these conditions exist for most people in West Africa.  There is no comparison between life in West Africa and life in the U.S.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this. I havd never thought about the sweat from the heat and the people not having air conditioning and the clean water needed for hand washing and such. Thank you for putting this in to perspective for me.