‘Ebola is real’: Uganda to trial vaccines and shut schools early to contain outbreak Read more
It began with a viral video that went viral on YouTube. It went viral all over the world.
The video featured a woman speaking into a camera, asking people for help: “I want to ask u all to please help me.”
“My son has Ebola,” she said. “There is Ebola at home.”
Ebola is a disease in which a person is infected with the Ebola virus. The virus causes severe hemorrhaging and internal bleeding, which can be fatal. No vaccine is currently in clinical use but a few candidates are being tested in different phases of clinical trials.
Since the video went viral in August, it has been viewed more than a million times. At the time of writing, it is among the most-viewed videos on the video-sharing site YouTube. By Friday, it had garnered more than 30 million views.
The video was in fact a hoax, but the hoax was embraced by some on the right. It sparked conspiracy theories and panic.
In an interview with WFPL, Sarah Kliff, founder of the “Infectious Disease Solutions” blog, said this: “The whole thing was a ruse, but what’s really scary is some people actually believe the video is real.”
The hoax is the latest example of the influence that the far right has had. The video also triggered criticism of Ebola in the African nation of Uganda. That country has recorded the highest number of cases and deaths in the world. The outbreak began in July when a man traveling across the border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo became infected.
Uganda now has more than 1,800 confirmed Ebola cases and 45 deaths. So far, no one has died from the virus in the country, but the mortality rate is high and there have been more than a dozen children infected, according to the World Health Organization.
After the viral video, a hashtag was started: #AfricaEbola. The phrase “ebola is real” soon turned into