Friday, September 26, 2014

Compare the threats

by Jack Reeves

The Ebola virus and fear of it are much in the news. This year there have been some 6,263 cases, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 2,917 deaths.

For perspective, in 2012 there were 207 million cases of malaria and 627,000 deaths. Every minute a child in Africa dies of the mosquito-borne disease.

Cholera, also mosquito-transmitted, takes a great toll on health and lives. There were 1.4 million to 4.3 million cases last year and as many as 142,000 deaths. Haiti led the world with 58,809 incidences and nearly 600 deaths. (All statistics from the World Health Organization.)

I’ve had both: malaria twice, cholera once. The latter brought to mind Samuel Johnson’s words: “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

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