SRI LANKA AND INDIA: The Great Ebola Freakout

PEYTON CROSS WRITES — The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa has sent ripples of panic around the globe, from Fox News talk shows in New York to the small island nation of Sri Lanka.

On August 18th, the Sri Lankan website News First reported the country’s first possible case. The victim passed away shortly after displaying common symptoms of the disease.  It has not been officially diagnosed as Ebola, however.

The Daily Mirror posted an editorial on October 17 stating that Sri Lanka must strengthen its monitoring  procedures if it hopes to escape the wrath of the deadly disease. According to the article, Sri Lanka needs to realize that their neighbor India has strong ties to West Africa. With  about 5,000 Indians living and working in West Africa, it would not be far-fetched to believe an outbreak could occur in India.

According to the News First report,  a Nigerian woman en route to India died after showing symptoms of the disease. It was also stated that the man who had passed away after displaying signs of Ebola had recently traveled to India as well. The Daily Mirror fears that if an outbreak hits India, it could only be a matter of weeks before the virus permeates Sri Lanka.

This is not to say that Sri Lanka has not done anything to prepare for such a plausible situation. According to, Sri Lanka has established “special round the clock health units” at airports to prevent the virus from entering the countries. In an article written by Bella Dalima of News First, Director of Epidemiology Dr. Paba Palihawadana explains that Sri Lanka has also been more cautious when it comes to issuing visas. He stated that “When issuing visas to persons from countries where the Ebola virus is prevalent, we have made medical certificates a prerequisite.”  Sometimes precaution is the best (and only) medicine.

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