Independent News and Media

How much of Africa is really affected by Ebola?

Ebola is an on-going health crisis - but in many instances fears have escalated out of context.

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In response, British chemist Anthony England has created a map of Africa for the "geographically challenged", which clearly highlights the three West African countries severely affected by Ebola.

Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are coloured in red, green and blue, while the rest of the continent remains blank with the slogan "No Ebola" stamped across it.

The map also defines exactly what is meant by "No Ebola". That is "no current confirmed patients" and "no current confirmed infectious outbreak".

So, for example, while Mali reported a case it is still not included in the graphic because the two-year-old victim tragically died from the disease.

In short, only "problem countries" are shown.

England, who lives in the Netherlands, said he was inspired by an article about a teacher in Louisville, Kentucky.

According to WLYK, Susan Sherman handed in her resignation at the Catholic school where she taught because many students, teachers, parents and parishioners were unhappy about her decision to travel to Kenya as a missionary.

Kenya has not reported a single case of Ebola - but this is just one story amid a wave of ignorance about the epidemic gripping West Africa. England, who has visited the region in the past, told The Independent that he sees "an endless amount of ill-informed" commentary on Twitter.

He hopes that his map will clear up some of the confusion, which he believes is harming the efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

He said: "There [are] genuine questions from people who want to learn.

"But as best as I can tell there are far more from people who have read little but yet think they all the answers based on some or other hearsay - and then refuse to listen to any scientifically-minded guidance."

But England added:

"I think there is enough information out there in the world for people to know what Ebola is all about.

Anyone who cares to learn the details about Ebola can easily find all the answers."

More than 10,000 cases of Ebola have now been recorded as the virus continues to spread. Out of the cases recorded in eight affected countries, almost 5,000 patients have died, with Liberia the worst hit.

The head of the World Health Organisation this week said there is still no Ebola vaccine 40 years after the disease first emerged because it previously affected only poor African nations

Dr Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO attacked drug companies, saying that "a profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay".


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