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Ebola hard to contract

Published: 
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DAVID E BRATT, MD

So yes, boy! There is a new player in town. Chikunguyna gone, Ebola fever taking over T&T! Name fadder! Ebola! 

More properly known as Ebola viral disease or Ebola haemorrhagic fever, but not for the public. Nobody knows who Edson Arantes do Nascimento is, but everyone knows Pele. 

The name comes from where the disease was first recorded in 1976 in Yambuku, a small village in the northern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which lies on the Ebola River. It could well have been called Yambuki fever. Why not? Yambuki! “I have Yambuki fever!” Wheepapaoh! Disease, boy! 

The Ebola River is actually the headstream of the Mongala River, a tributary of the Congo, the second largest river in the world, after the Amazon, by volume of water discharged. 

Yes, man! Ebola! Yambuki! Mongala! Bolobo! Names to stir the blood of any Trinidadian male over 60 who used to go 12.30 to watch Hollywood movies like King Solomon’s Mines and She. 

Everyone in T&T is very excited about Ebola fever. The Minister of Health, before he went on holiday, told everybody that his ministry was “fully prepared to deal with an outbreak of Ebola.” Various letter-writers have responded to that fatuous assertion better than I can.