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The world’s attention is being draw to the outbreak of the ebola virus in West Africa.
By a strange coincidence I was a patient in the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya in 1976 when the first victim of the African outbreak was admitted. The consultant who was caring for me was the doctor who identified the virus as ebola. So far, at least, I have not seen anything that would disprove my doctor’s explanation that the African version (the most deadly type) came from the famous “elephant caves” on Mount Elgon, situated in northern Kenya and bordering on Uganda.
The Nairobi doctor who treated the first victim learned from him that he had been visiting the caves. Within a few weeks, a teenager arrived with similar symptoms, and his case-history revealed that he too had been visiting the Elgon caves.
The media have been clear about the threat to the human race by the rapid spread of the virus. At the time of writing, the death toll is well over 4,000 and world authorities have begun to wake up and take notice, giving dire predictions about the cost in terms of finance required to contain the outbreak and — more importantly — the cost in terms of the thousands of human lives lost.
While the unproven drug ZMapp seems to be having some success, the brave workers who are trying to combat the disease are aware they are putting their lives at grave risk in working to help those suffering from the disease.
Fr James Good
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