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From Africa to America: Ebola

When a disaster or disease outbreak occurs on the other side of the world, we often give the event a passing nod and perhaps a sigh of sadness. But when the event influences our own lives – we take notice.

America is finally taking notice of the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa now that two American aid workers have been infected with the disease – and flown home for treatment.

In one week, Liberia has seen 173 new cases and 93 deaths from Ebola. The outbreak reached Liberia in March, but its government did not declare a full state of emergency until Wednesday. Early on, the government limited journalists’ coverage of the epidemic – allowing denial and fear to contribute to – not address - the problem.

With the Ebola outbreak tantamount to war, the Peace Corps is leaving Liberia, airlines are limiting access. And on the other side of the world, we can only wait.

(S-R photo: Nancy Writebol, with children in Liberia. Writebol is one of two Americans working for a missionary group in Liberia who have been diagnosed with Ebola. She is now in the US receiving treatment.)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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