The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Further steps should be taken to contain the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/31/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,440 times Debate No: 61126
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




I limited the character count to 4k because it is the school year.

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2-4: Normal

Sources are highly encouraged.


Ebola is spread through contact with infected fluids from either animals or persons infected with the virus, extremely unlikely from normal contact with another infected person or animal.

I will try to show the readers that all necessary steps and procedures are already being taken to prevent the disease from spreading, and that there is nothing more we can do unless we find a cure or vaccine.

To read up on what has been done thus far:

I will begin my debate after your response.
Thank you and I look forward to our debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this debate.

I am arguing that measures currently being taken in contain the Ebola Outbreak in Africa are insufficient, making further actions necessary and an appropriate use of resources. Taking sufficient action to contain the Ebola Outbreak is important for three reasons.

1. Death is Bad
According to the Center for Disease Control or (CDC), the Ebola outbreak "does not pose a significant risk to the U. S. public" (1). This is a very U.S. -centric point of view. Focusing on how the outbreak is unlikely to harm the privileged, undermines the fact that thousands have died and still more are dying every day. While those dying are not first world citizens, this makes their deaths no less saddening. Further action is required because the Ebola Outbreak is continuing to take lives and, to put it simply, death is bad.

2. Spread is Dangerous
The World Health Organization (WHO) said in early August that "the Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an 'extraordinary event' and a public health risk to other States;" (2) WHO listed several reasons why the potentional consequences will be serious: "virulence of the virus, intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems" (2). It is not enough for large organizations to lay down the law on the borders and play with germs in their labs. The underdeveloped nature of West Africa makes establishing a border inherently difficult. Further action is required because the current steps have proven insufficient at stopping the spread to neighboring countries and, again to put it simply, the spread is dangerous.

3. Education is Good
In the above point I focused on how the current plan is failing to secure the border's of the outbreak's spread. You might ask what further steps (funding, doctors, guards) could do to help when WHO has already tried. How about education? Even with the supplies provided by WHO and other organizations, the spread will continue unless the people are educated in how to avoid infection. For example, did you know that Ebola stays alive even after the affected person has passed away? Trying to develop a vaccine and stopping obvious infection risks from traveling is one step to containing the situation. However, while scientists dabble in their labs, thousands have died and more still will die in part out of ignorance. By creating an initiative to spread knowledge about preventing the spread of Ebola will put the power back in the hands of the West Africans and will be more effective than agencies from other nations fumbling around the borders.

To summarize, the devastating Ebola outbreak in West Africa will lead to more death (which is bad) and will likely spread to more countries (which is dangerous). My plan to create an education initiative will both empower the people closest to the issue and be a more effective use of resources.

Do not wait until it is too late. STOP Ebola deaths, STOP the spread, STOP the devastation now through education.



Most of what you stated is obvious and in no way supports your statement that that further steps need to be taken. What steps do you propose that we take that are already not being taken?

1. Death is Bad:
This is a given. Of course death is bad, but how does this statement help to contain the Ebola Outbreak?
Yes the CDC's website says that there is no significant threat to the U.S. Public, but I used that in reference to how the disease is spread. It shows their case definition for the Ebola Virus, which can be viewed here:

2. Spread is dangerous:
Again of course the spread of the disease is dangerous... How does this support your argument?
The only thing I see that could hold any merit would be that there health systems are weak. This is true, but that is also why they are working with the CDC as well as WHO to make up for their weak health system. They are coordinating their efforts with the CDC and WHO, as well as other organizations, to help try ad get the outbreak under control.
"Partners involved in the response to the current outbreak, UN Agencies, CDC , DFID, EU, ECHO,
Institute Pasteur, IFRC, MSF, PHE, USAID, and WAHO participated and appreciated the
opportunity for dialogue and consensus building; and expressed their views on key issues
highlighted by governments.." (1)

3. Education is good:
You ask about educating the public which they are also already doing and continue to do. They have used Posters for example, which you can see here:
Within the Ebola Response plan for Sierra Leone:
"Specific Objectives of the operational plan:
1.To ensure effective coordination of the outbreak response activities at all levels
2.To strengthen early detection, reporting and referral of suspected cases through active surveillance and outbreak investigation
3.To institute prompt and effective case management of all suspected cases
4.To create public awareness about EVD, the risk factors for its transmission, its prevention and control among the people" (2)

So far everything that you have discussed I have proved that it is currently being taken care of. They are currently using all resources available to contain the outbreak, and unless the "scientists dabbling in their labs" find a vaccine or cure for the disease.

Thank you, and I look forward to your reply.

Debate Round No. 2


I will begin by dismissing my opponent's rebuttals which will lead me to extending my plan involving education. With any remaining characters I will point out flaws in CON's points.

1. Death is Bad
CON claims this points is irrelevant. However, I claim it is a central ethical dilemma. Thousands have died with more on their way. The atrocity of high numbers of preventable deaths must end. The status quo is clearly insufficient as more are dying every day. In badly hit villages, 1 in 10 have died in the short time since the outbreak began (2). Everyone in these villages has experienced loss. Village life is in shambles and productivity is shaken. Sudden loss of population is not only devastating to the moral of a country, but also to its economy. How can these countries, that were already financially impaired, hope to regain stability when their workforce is crippled?

2. Spread is Dangerous
Again CON claims irrelevancy. And again, I claim this is a central issue. The Ebola outbreak has spread to neighboring countries. Therefore, it is not just that there is death (which I have established as bad) in one area, but now the death is spreading. This means more countries shaken by sudden population loss. And with the evidently fallible containment protocol in place, more countries are sure to follow.
Now, CON claims that the outside organizations are on top of the problem. However, the "80 agencies are struggling to keep up [with disinfecting the homes of deceased families and] ... feel as though they are two steps behind when they need to be one step ahead" (2). This quote does not inspire confidence in the status quo. It does not matter the quantity of agencies, nor does it matter that they try to collaborate with each other, because it isn't enough.

3. Education is Good
CON claims that the status quo includes education because posters were produced. Posters are insufficient. The problem isn't only that the people do not know how to avoid Ebola. The real source of the problem is that many villages do not believe in Ebola. For example, the "burial boys" (young men in Sierra Leon who volunteer as "dead body management") are met with threats and disowning from the villagers and their own families. My "Education is Good" plan cannot be accomplished through posters. My plan requires a shift in social norms. Posters written in English, likely only posted in more developed towns and health centers, are not going to reach the villagers who do not believe in Ebola.
We need the agencies already involved to commit more resources, to send in individuals who speak the language, who can work directly and in person with the villagers to gain their friendship and their trust. Only then can it be successfully communicated that the Ebola threat is real and the appropriate measures (now would be a good time to dust off the posters) must be taken.

As you can see, the situation is dire; the death count is increasing and the outbreak is spreading. The status quo is insufficient. My education initiative, and perhaps even more steps, are needed.

With my remaining characters I will do a bit of rebuttal.

A. CON said "They are currently using all resources available to contain the outbreak,"
Who is "they" in this context? How do you know they are using "all resources available"?

B. CON's plan is not concrete
Objectives does not mean the same thing as results and "appreciated the opportunity for dialogue and consensus building"(as CON quoted) is a long way off from 'fixed the problem'.

C. CON has not offered, that I recognized, any constructed arguments of their own. While CON did attack my points, I recommend that in the next round CON create arguments that support the status quo.

I look forward to round 3.





My opponent states:
"I am arguing that measures currently being taken in contain the Ebola Outbreak in Africa are insufficient, making further actions necessary and an appropriate use of resources. Taking sufficient action to contain the Ebola Outbreak is important for three reasons."

1. Death and 2. Spread:
So that means that stating that both death and the spread of the disease is completely and undeniably irrelevant for the purpose of this debate. Now if we were arguing if people"s deaths in general were for the good of mankind, then it would be a good argument. However this statement has nothing to do with improving the measures that are currently being taken to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. They are just stating why we need to control the spread and not anything that will help us to control the spread"
The entire reason for this debate is for Pro to prove and explain what actions they feel need to be taken, that are not already or in the process of being taken, to better control the spread of this horrible disease.

3. Education:
Pro States:
"Posters written in English, likely only posted in more developed towns and health centers, are not going to reach the villagers who do not believe in Ebola."

-There are some written in English, but if you bother to do a little research, or even look at them, they are made with universal pictures for yes and no.[2] Now if you were to argue that the blind cannot see or read the posters, I would argue back saying that someone else can explain the poster to them. The rate of Blind and visually impaired in West Africa is pretty high, around 42.2% [5], but that is all completely speculative and therefore easily dismissed. They also put the posters in places where people tend to gather, like a quarantine check point (which also helps the spread of Ebola by testing the individuals as they come through [6]), so that as many people see it as possible [2].
- They are sending people village to village to inform the people firsthand about the effects of Ebola, and what not to do. [1] Yes allot of people thought that it was some government conspiracy, but they are learning that is not the case.

Pro then asks:
"Who is "they" in this context? How do you know they are using "all resources available"?"

- I don"t have the room to write them all so here is a link:

- How do you know they are not using all resources available?

They have numerous health workers in place with more on the way, they have quarantine zones in place, they have money pouring in worldwide, they have test vaccines already being used to try and help as much as they can to try and find the vaccine or cure. What else do you want them to do? You can hope for a miracle, but I"m sure millions of people are already praying for one.

I have argued my points by proving everything that Pro has stated is already being taken care of. The burden of Proof falls on them considering they are saying that more needs to be done. I only have to prove that it is already being done or will soon be done.

I look forward to your reply in round 4.

Debate Round No. 3


I+II. CON agrees that death is bad and that the spread of death is bad - but somehow thinks this is irrelevant. As I said earlier, this is a central piece of the debate. The status quo (which CON believes to be sufficient) includes death and the spread of death. My plan (an education initiative) has the intent of reducing the mortality caused by Ebola and containing its spread. I understand that CON's plan (status quo) attempts to reduce death and contain the spread, but it does an inferior job.

III. CON incorrectly assumed I had not bothered to open their link about the posters. I did in fact look at these posters. The first few images make a bit of sense, but the others of a face puking or a close up of an eye are confusing. These posters are confusing. These posters are not accessible to remote villages. Posters are not the best way to teach a concept. Many villagers do not believe in Ebola; a poster is not going to change their minds. CON claims that the status quo encompasses my education plan; however, a poorly executed poster campaign is a long way away from sending in educators who understand the language and the customs to convince the people that Ebola is a real threat.

I believe CON has misunderstood burden of proof. The common understanding of burden of proof is that, if both sides are equal, the side with burden of proof has lost. In other words, because I have burden of proof, I must prove that my plan is better than your plan. Because you don't have burden of proof, you have to prove that your plan (the status quo) is equal or greater than my plan. This does not mean that CON can slide by without making organized and evidence-based arguments.

My plan (education initiative) is better than CON's plan (status quo) because my plan reduces death, contains the spread, and is educational.

I have shown that the status quo does not encompass my further steps plan of an education initiative. I have also clarified 'burden of proof'. Knowing this, you may either vote for the further step of an education initiative or to allow the horrendous status quo to run its course: whichever you think is the better plan.

The death and spread associated with the status quo is unacceptable. Further steps must be taken.

Thank you for indulging me in my desire to debate serious topics.
I appreciate the time CON put into this, and the time you the voter have put into reading this far.
I look forward to CON's closing remarks and remind all that new arguments in the final round are to be discarded.


Pro stated at the beginning that rounds 2-4 are normal, and now states that I can have no new arguments....

Everything that Pro has suggested for their "Education Initiative" I have proving has already been taken care of. He supplied no new arguments to support his side. He makes the assumption that the posters, which are written in more then just English, are not available to remote villages. This is pearly speculation so I can say that they ARE available. I have shown to both the readers and Pro that they are being placed in strategic places for people to see.

I will also state again that death and the spread of the disease being BAD has nothing to do with containing the outbreak, it only states what is currently happening and will continue to happen with the disease until it can be eradicated.

I will leave off here and wait for the judges to decide.

Thank you Pro for the serious debate, and the best of luck.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Hlinnerooth 2 years ago
Wow! How much coffee do you drink? Lol
Mine is about the same. I just don't sleep much :)
Posted by ForSerious 2 years ago
8:30 - 10:00 Class
10:00 - 11:00 Work Meeting
11:00 - 11:30 Work Meeting
11:30 - 12:00 Travel
12:00 - 12:30 Errands
12:30 - 1:00 Lunch/Dishes
1:00 - 1:30 Research
1:30 - 2:30 Travel
2:30 - 3:45 Volunteer
3:45 - 4:00 Travel
4:00 - 5:15 Class
5:15 - 5:30 Travel
5:30 - 7:15 Volunteer
7:15 - 7:30 Travel

And now I'm in the library to knock out a few chapters before class from 8:30 - 6:00 tomorrow. Then on Saturday I have a conference from 8:30 - 4:00.

So - yes. I will take the full 72 hours again.

I know it's annoying to wait (and for all I know your life is just as hectic), but I'm not doing it to psych you out - and I purposely chose to only do one debate and put that debate on the maximum time per round.
Posted by Hlinnerooth 2 years ago
The 3 days to post is starting to get to me..... Why so long ForSerious?
Posted by Hlinnerooth 2 years ago
@ ForSerious
Shadow-Dragon is talking about world population in whole. He says the more people that die of diseases the better for us all.
Posted by ForSerious 2 years ago
@Shadow-Dragon: But what if the outbreak gets out of control and spreads to countries that do not have overpopulation, or worse already suffer from under population?
@A341: If I had said the steps ahead of time that would have given the opposition an added advantage. Besides the "further steps" terminology is quite common for world's style debate resolutions
Posted by A341 2 years ago
What further steps do you suggest? I mean there is already a curfew in place, quarantined areas and tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds being spent on the treatment of those effected.
Posted by RobertF 2 years ago
Thats dark Shadow-Dragon. Thats dark.
Posted by Shadow-Dragon 2 years ago
I don't feel like accepting the challenge, but my view is a very unique one.

I don't support steps to prevent ebola. Diseases like this are a great way to reduce population, and that is pretty important with a rapidly growing population.
Posted by RobertF 2 years ago
I'd really love to take your challenge wouldn't it be that I have no knoweledge in what is being done to battle Ebola and what can be done.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro never showed what more education he wanted done--Con showed that everything he was asking for and more was already BEING done. As Pro's case rested wholly on the education point (that was the "further steps" of his resolution), and as Con showed that everything he called for in terms of education was being done, Pro failed in his BoP. Arguments to Con. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.