Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday that he and his wife would $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control Foundation to fight Ebola.
The nation’s most famous hoodie-wearing public figure since the Unabomber announced his donation — where else? — on his Facebook page.
“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long-term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio. We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.”
The grant is from Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, who is a doctor. Their gift will go to help fight the disease on the front lines in Africa. It will be used to train staff, set up care centers, and identify Ebola cases.
“One problem right now is that most people -- including government leaders -- don’t realize we’re at such a critical turning point,” Zuckerberg said. “Spending $25 million to help get this under control now is very little cost compared to all the lives it could save and all the billions of dollars of costs we’d have to spend fighting the disease if it spread much further.”
While Ebola is a terrible and often-fatal disease, medical professionals do offer encouraging news about the disease that should help calm the public. For example, Ebola is not an airborne virus. This is cause for relief, since it means that transmission and spread of the disease is limited to bodily fluid contact. Persons who have the disease and capable of transmitting it are usually far too sick to be traveling. This limits the possibility of transmission to, literally, spitting distance.
But that can be far enough to start a pandemic. After all, HIV is not airborne either. Efforts like those bankrolled by Zuckerberg and Chan are needed to get a handle on what could be a globally devastating disease.
More information about Ebola can be found on the CDC Foundation website.