Ebola is quickly becoming the new disease causing concern in the minds of most Americans. However this should come as no surprise because the media has a tendency to scare the shit out of us every couple of years with a new illness or health threat. First it was AIDS back in the 80’s before modern medicine made advances in its detection and treatment of HIV. Over a decade later I remember right after 9/11 there were a slew of reports regarding the bioweapon Anthrax being shipped in the mail to various media outlets. And in recent years I remember both SARS and the H1N1 virus that had everyone locked indoors watching tons of Netflix (which worked out well for them in the long run).
Now with this recent case of Ebola being diagnosed in Dallas I’m preparing for the stereotyping of West Africa once again just as it was during the late 1970’s when Africa was blamed for bringing AIDS to the United States.
That’s the first thing I’m ready for.
Secondly, I’m ready for people to begin worrying when the virus will spread throughout the rest of the nation, ultimately claiming the lives of millions.
Information is a powerful tool ladies and gentlemen. And before the panic and fear sets in I would like to state a few facts about this current epidemic which has graced our timelines, news feeds and televisions.
1) The Ebola outbreak started in March 2014 and is prevalent in the following countries; Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. There were also cases of Ebola reported in both Nigeria and Senegal but those reports have been pretty much eradicated with no new cases reported since September 2014.
2) The case in Dallas is the very first formal Ebola case reported in the United States. This is irrespective from the cases of both Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol who were both treated for the virus back in August. Knowing that this is the very first case involving a non missionary worker can be a bit scary, but according to CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden “One of the things that CDC has done in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Lagos, is to work with the airports’ authority so 100% of the individuals getting on planes are screened for fever,” the director said. “And if they have a fever, they are pulled out of the line, assessed for Ebola and don’t fly unless Ebola is ruled out.”
He added, however: “As long as there continue to be cases in West Africa, the reality is that patients travel, individuals travel, and, as appears to have happened in this case, individuals may travel before they have any symptoms.”
So to reiterate, according to the CDC, they are taking as many precautions as possible to make sure Ebola doesn’t become a widespread epidemic as it has been in other countries.
3) The virus is spread through contact with others who are exhibiting symptoms, and it is not an airborne virus. You must be in direct contact with the infected person’s bodily fluids and once again that person must be already sick with the virus in order for that to happen.
Knowledge is power people! Let’s not allow fear and to cripple us with ignorance. Always be informed.