Foreign aid and the spread of Ebola

ebola liberia

As the Ebola crisis continues, many in the public health community have expressed a belief that this current outbreak is driven by an “evolution” of the virus that makes it easier to spread.

That does not seem to be the case. While numerous mutations have occurred in the virus there is no evidence that either its method of transmission or general mode of infection have changed at all. In fact, the current variety shows less variation from the past than do the changes in the flu virus from year to year. A recent study on changes in the Ebola virus since the current epidemic broke out found the virus is not evolving:

The majority of mutations either render the virus useless at doing its job, or have no effect. Its “job” being to make more copies of the virus and occasionally to infect another host.

So the mutations that do get passed on are usually the very few that succeed at improving the rate of virus replication, or the rate of infection. Exactly how many of the mutations alter the effectiveness of the virus at replicating and being transmitted, and how they do so, remains to be established.

If the virus is, as shown, unchanged in virulence and transmissability since it was first discovered, what, then accounts tor the number of cases as well as the divergent impacts depending upon the nation involved?
ebola -- total cases current epidemic

There is strong anecdotal evidence that the culprit is foreign aid.

Foreign aid has long been known to have a corrosive effect on the nations it is visited upon. Large influxes of free or very low cost food reduce local farmers to penury. Food, as we saw in Somalia in the late 1980s/early 1990s is used by warlords and rival militias to punish people trying to remain neutral in conflicts. Infusions of cash enrich the well connected, and real estate agents in Switzerland and southern France, while destroying fragile economies. While using it to buy influence with the regime du jour in various Third World crapholes has an upside, the most usual form it takes, particularly when the United States and its armada of non-profits swing into action, is one of allowing white liberals to do penance for being white and living in the United States. Or, as the Cato Institute study linked to above concludes:

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