A U.S. professor of plant pathology is suggesting to West Africans that the Ebola virus is a bioterrorism weapon developed by the U.S. being used on Africans.
The essay, published by Dr. Cyril Broderick in the influential Liberian newspaper the Daily Observer, comes on the heels of an announcement by the U.S. that it will be sending 3,000 troops to help contain the spread of Ebola.
The virus has already killed over 2,000 people of the 4,507 cases that have been reported during the past six months of the current outbreak. The 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, which is primarily impacting the three countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, is the worst in history. The survival rate of the virus, which takes about 21 days to incubate, is about 50 percent.
Dangerous rumors among the public that Ebola is a government ruse and the virus is not real have led to violent retaliation. In some cases, mobs of people have broken down the doors of medical centers where Ebola patients were being treated, telling the patients to leave because they weren't sick.
There have also been deaths from attacks made by villagers in remote areas where Ebola workers were visiting. Last week, a group of Ebola workers and journalists were murdered by villagers in Guinea when they went to check on the village. More recently, a group of Red Cross workers were brutally attacked while doing Ebola prevention work.
Broderick, whose essay has generated concern that he is feeding into dangerous public sentiment over Ebola, is originally from Liberia. He is a former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia who now works at the University of Delaware. In his essay, Broderick states that the Ebola virus could be part of the "American-Military-Medical" industry and manufactured as a form of control over West Africans.
"Because of the widespread loss of life, fear, physiological trauma, and despair among Liberians and other West African citizens, it is incumbent that I make a contribution to the resolution of this devastating situation, which may continue to recur, if it is not properly and adequately confronted," writes Broderick.
He also alleges that various sites in West Africa have been set up over the years to test emerging diseases, including Ebola, with part of the purpose to test vaccinations. There are currently a number of experimental treatments for Ebola victims being tested in the U.S. on a handful of medical and aid workers who have returned from Africa with the virus for treatment. The most recent patient, Rick Sacra, was an Ebola patient released from a Nebraska hospital on Thursday.
The U.S. could possibly spend upwards of $1 billion in personnel and equipment to help contain the Ebola virus in coming months.