Via The Guardian: Ebola virus causes outbreak of infectious dance tune. Excerpt:
Few viruses can boast of being the inspiration for hit dance tunes. But then ebola – which can kill up to 90% of victims, has no vaccine or cure, and causes horrific internal and external bleeding – is not your average pathogen. When an epidemic struck west Africa's music-crazy nations of Guinea and Liberia, it spawned mass panic – and the outbreak of a new dance accompanied to a infectious rap song.
"Ebola, Ebola in town. Don't touch your friend! No kissing, no eating something. It's dangerous!" warns the chorus of Ebola in Town, looped over a catchy, trippy electro-dance beat.
At one point, the rapper describes an attempt to escape ebola by fleeing to neighbouring Guinea only to discover, in lyrics that suggest a stalking ex-lover, the disease lurking there too. Clubbers bitten by the musical bug have come up with a "no touching" jig in roadside bars of the capital, Monrovia.
"With such a high illiteracy rate, and such important messages to get across, sometimes a catchy or humorous song is the best way. I still remember ones that were made when I was a child in school here in Liberia," said bank manager Ethel Knuckles, in her 30s.
Such musical comic relief follows in the tradition of others such as Ivory Coast's Crazy Chicken dance, inspired by the bird flu virus. Aside from comic relief, in a region with weak public health systems, the ebola song also communicates vital information needed to curb the virus, which is spread through contact with fluids of infected people or animals, like urine, blood and saliva. This week, Sierra Leone confirmed four people had died in a district that borders southern Guinea, where the outbreak began.
Health workers have raced to contain ebola's transmission. When it appeared for the first time in Guinea this March – from where it later jumped to Liberia – popular text messages claimed an antidote could be found in of a concoction of hot chocolate, coffee, milk, sugar and raw onions. In Liberia, many initially dismissed ebola as a way for health officials to rake in money.
Few took official advice to abstain from sex – coyly referred to as "no eating something" in the song – seriously.