West Africa's out-of-control Ebola outbreak continues to show no sign of slowing. In just three days' time, according to the latest World Health Organization data, 84 new deaths were reported; the official death toll across Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone has surpassed 1,200.
Containing the outbreak continues to be a serious challenge. Preventing its spread largely depends on keeping infected patients isolated and stemming the tide of fear and misinformation keeping patients from seeking care and those at risk from doing what's needed to protect themselves.
Enter Samuel "Shadow" Morgan and Edwin "D-12" Tweh, two Liberia-based musicians who, NPR reports, recorded a song about the disease to help convince people to take it seriously. The track, "Ebola in Town," appears to be a hit:
That night, Shadow uploaded the song to the Internet and started sharing it with friends and DJs. The very next day he heard the song playing all around the streets of Monrovia and on people's cell phones. Within three days it was all over the country and had inspired an original dance where dancers mimic kissing and hugging from a distance — a way to keep safe from infection in a country where people love to embrace when they meet.
...Both men say that it was not until they arrived in the U.S. and started watching the news that they fully realized the extent of the Ebola outbreak. Back home, they say, there hadn't been much coverage. Both the health ministry and the government were slow to get the word out.
The lyrics, where they lack in specificity ("No eating something"), nonetheless get some important messages across:
Ebola in town
Don't touch your friend!
No eating something
NPR calls it "infectious":