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Does public attention to Ebola indicate a public interest in the worldwide HIV pandemic?

Anton Scott Goustin asg at cmb.biosci.wayne.edu
Tue Aug 1 11:49:11 EST 1995

Looks like Don Francis is suggesting that public attention return to the 
HIV epidemic, now the Ebola outbreak of 1995 has alerted their attention 
to pathogenic viruses.  Let's hope that human viruses are not 
flash-in-the-pan, famous-for-fifteen-minutes!

"Hot Frog!"
POZ (08/95-09/95) No. 9, P. 24;  Eisenberg, Jana
     The recent eruption of the Ebola virus in Zaire has caused public
health scares in the United States.  Dr. Don Francis, who has
conducted viral research for 25 years, feels the reaction to HIV
is "blunted" by comparison.  Although both Ebola and HIV have
high mortality rates and are thought to come from Africa, Ebola
rapidly burns itself out.  "People can see the infected person
and stay in appropriate isolation," notes Francis.  With HIV,
however, "people can't recognize the long incubation period and
don't change their behavior as a result."  The key link between
the two viruses is mortality rate--which is between 70 and 90
percent for Ebola and, according to Francis, "in excess of 90
percent" for HIV.  "There are few viruses which kill that large a
proportion of people they affect," Francis says.  Although he
understands the human response to danger and change, Francis
compares people's denial to the "frog syndrome," in which a frog
tossed into boiling water will try to get out but a frog placed
in cold water that is then heated will stay where he is.

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