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Travel can worsen Ebola spread, Alabama A&M professor says

Alabama A&M University professor Dr. Jacob Oluwoye said travel will worsen the spread of the Ebola virus. (CONTRIBUTED)
Alabama A&M University professor Dr. Jacob Oluwoye said travel will worsen the spread of the Ebola virus. (CONTRIBUTED)

NORMAL – The possibility of an epidemic from the incurable and deadly Ebola virus has saturated the news media locally and around the world. One professor at Alabama A&M University is explaining the transfer for the deadly disease.

“Ebola is contagious,” Dr. Jacob Oluwoye said. At Alabama A&M, Oluwoye works as a professor of transportation and environmental health.

“Generally, the infectious agent may be transmitted by saliva, air, cough, fecal-oral route, surfaces, blood, needles, blood transfusions, sexual contact, mother to fetus and in other ways,” he said.

Although the disease is infectious, “it is not a genetic disease or one caused by a defective or abnormal gene,” Oluwoye said.

Transmission of Ebola occurs by “‘hierarchical diffusion’, meaning that it spreads from major population centers to the surrounding countryside. Transportation, coupled with highly fluid population movements between underdeveloped countries, has allowed Ebola to transcend the walls of underdeveloped countries and to enter the developed world,” he said.

“The Ebola epidemic jumps from city to city in hierarchical diffusion. Then, it spreads out by spatially contagious diffusion from regional epicenters into the surrounding countryside,” Oluwoye said.

In addition, the spread of Ebola at the current alarming infection rates “threatens to erode the growth of the world economy, as well as affect other aspects of citizens’ social lives,” Oluwoye said. “The more people travel, the faster and further Ebola can spread.”

As a result, an important factor in Ebola spread is the population movement in the form of transportation usage, he said.

Oluwoye earned a doctorate degree in traffic and transport management at New South Wales University. For more information, call Oluwoye at 256-372-4994 or email to jacob.oluwoye@aamu.edu.

Alabama A&M was founded in 1875 by former slave William Hooper Councill. The institution’s original name was Huntsville Normal School, which was located in downtown Huntsville. Today, the university functions as a teaching, research and public service institution, including its extension centers.

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