The ALS ice bucket challenge is taking the internet (and my Facebook newsfeed) by storm. Of course it's good to donate money to different (credible) charities but why ALS all of a sudden? What gets me so mad is that ALS isn't even that big of a deal when you consider that there are legit epidemics/pandemics happening right now.
This is clearly showing the way that America thinks. We would never have an ice bucket challenge for Ebola (even though it's been in the news very recently) or for Dengue, Measles, Malaria, or the Bubonic Plague. Yes, the bubonic plague is still around! And the idea of dumping clean drinking water on our heads when millions of people don't have access to clean drinking water... it's crazy. And pointless.
Don't even get me started on the severity of MRSA and other antibiotic resistant microbes. These super bugs will make their way into the news soon, I have no doubt.
Let's look at the specifics about ALS, shall we?
- From the CDC : Although no one knows for sure, reports suggest 12,000 – 15,000 people in the United States have ALS; every year doctors tell about 5,000 people that they have it. Because records on ALS have not been kept throughout the country, it is hard to estimate the number of ALS cases in the United States. ALS is slightly more common in men than women. ALS is age related; most people find out they have it when they are between 55 and 75 years of age, and live from 2 to 5 years after symptoms develop. How long a person lives with ALS seems to be related to age; people who are younger when the illness starts live slightly longer.
Now let's look at Dengue Fever, as an example.
- From the CDC : With more than one-third of the world’s population living in areas at risk for infection, dengue virus is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics. As many as 400 million people are infected yearly. Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites.
For shits and giggles, now. We all know about the severity of AIDS...does ALS compare to the severity? The answer is, no.
- From the CDC : HIV disease continues to be a serious health issue for parts of the world. Worldwide, there were about 2.3 million new cases of HIV in 2012. About 35.3 million people are living with HIV around the world. In 2012, more than 9.7 million people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries had access to antiretroviral therapy (ART). An estimated 1.6 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2012, and an estimated 36 million people with AIDS have died worldwide since the epidemic began. Sub-Saharan Africa bears the biggest burden of HIV/AIDS, with nearly 1 in 20 adults living with HIV. Other regions significantly affected by HIV/AIDS include Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and South and Southeast Asia.
Last one, I swear. How about Ebola? We've all been talking about Ebola.
- From the CDC : 2014 outbreak alone :
- Suspected and Confirmed Case Count: 2240
- Suspected Case Deaths: 1229
- Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 1383
ALS is so minuscule in comparison to almost EVERYTHING ELSE that is plaguing the human population. Those with ALS generally find out later in life (ages 55-75.) AIDS, Dengue, and Malaria effects all ages--including millions upon millions of children. The #icebucketchallenge is just another form of publicity and a way for us little people to get a few likes on Facebook.
Go read the CDC's website and browse different diseases. While you're at it, go find out what ALS stands for.
*Header image found on the Ebola wikipedia.