Ebola Outbreak

By now, everyone has heard of the Ebola virus. We may have saved two U.S. medical missionaries from the deadly virus, but Ebola still has West Africa in its grasp. More specifically, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria are still fighting the epidemic. Recent predictions are saying that the Ebola virus may spread to 1.4 million people by winter. There is no vaccine or cure yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope. While the World Health Organization considers the outbreak contained, Catholic Relief Services has committed $1.5 million to the Ebola response effort in West Africa. The United States is sending 3,000 troops to Liberia, along with supplies, plans for more field hospitals, and additional aid workers.

We’ve had knowledge of the Ebola virus since 1976, but never has an outbreak of this capacity existed. The source of the virus is still unknown. The best thing we can do is to educate the people who are coming in close contact with victims of the virus.

There is a lot of stigma associated with the disease. Many people who have or know someone who has Ebola are reluctant to seek medical help out of shear fear. Hospitals are overflowing, and people are terrified of contracting the virus. Some of the disease’s victims already live on just dollars a day, so a lack of income to simply survive is another issue. A goal of Catholic Relief Services is to train volunteers on safety protocol, so that they may educate others on how to prevent catching the virus. Another goal is to replenish goods and help treat curable diseases like malaria that are getting ignored because of the Ebola outbreak. The greatest strength we have in the battle for good health is education and committing more resources to the cause. Share this article about Ebola and this article about the Church’s response with young adults and have a discussion about the outbreak:

  • What do you think about the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak?
  • After reading about the Catholic Church’s response, list some other examples you know of how the Church has stepped in to help in medical, environmental, or political disasters.
  • The Ebola virus carries a lot of stigma. What other diseases can you think of that have stigma attached to them? How might your young adult group or parish help educate people about these diseases?
  • What can you do in your local community to help those who are suffering from disease or illness?