LETTER:Why the hyperbole about Ebola virus?

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The Independent Online
From Ms Heather Vassall and Mr Mark English

Sir: Steve Connor ("Killer bug whose time has come", 13 May) argues his case for the world's vulnerability to infectious disease by highlighting the recent Ebola virus outbreak in Zaire. Yet, by his own account, the virus "is not easily transmitted" and "is relatively easy to contain", so why the hyperbole when many other largely curable diseases in the Third World are attracting a fraction of the publicity and concern?

Elevating a discussion of the Ebola virus into a threat from the "developing" world can only serve the purpose of endorsing a prejudiced view of African and other Third World countries. Far better we should be asking why countries such as Zaire are so impoverished that even basic medical facilities are not available to cope with a relatively rare virus.

Yours sincerely,

HEATHER VASSALL

MARK ENGLISH

London, W6

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