If Ebola's a problem here, just imagine it in India

29. Oktober 2014
As the U.S. has discovered, it only takes a few cases of Ebola to turn things upside down.

Months into the outbreak in West Africa, federal and state officials are still fighting over quarantine policies and travel bans, and reacting in disruptive fashion to the threat. Elementary schools were closed in Texas and Ohio communities after it was learned that students traveled on same plane used by an infected Dallas nurse.

It wasn't even the same flight.

After an infected doctor went bowling in New York City, the bowling alley was shut down and a biohazard team called in to clean it. That could have easily been your office. This is just in the U.S.; but consider the ramifications if that starts to happen in, say, India.

"Ebola cases showing up in urban India area would be a nightmare," said Andrew Schroeder, director of research and analysis for Direct Relief, a nonprofit that provides medical assistance to areas in need of help. Indian cities have the same kind of density that has allowed Ebola to spread rapidly through Monrovia, Liberia, and Freetown, Sierra Leone, along with slums, sanitation problems and poor population-to-physician ratios, he said. It would be difficult to track cases.

India does have a tier of its society that is very well equipped, but there are large portions of the country that are just as poor as West Africa, said Schroeder.

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