Ebola: America’s made-up nightmare

Oct. 13, 2014

Ashley Thompson
athomp13@uccs.edu

Ebola is being ridiculously overblown in American media.

Headlines have been popping up through mainstream media over the last few weeks intending to instill fear in readers: “Tips you need to know about Ebola,” reported NBC; “5 things to talk to your child about Ebola,” wrote the Washington Post; “Ebola: The ISIS of Biological Agents?” read CNN.

All of the major news networks are updating the world daily on Ebola victims, symptoms, prevention methods and the continuing search for a cure.

The disease has earned international attention. Thomas Duncan, the first confirmed victim of Ebola in America, died early last week after contracting the disease overseas a few weeks prior.

According to ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Richard Besser, the outbreak about began nine months ago. Since then, there have been around 8,000 cases reported within West Africa and over 3,000 people have died from the disease. These are good reasons to be concerned with the outbreak.

But if you’re scared of a rising plague significantly affecting the general population here in America, don’t hide in your basement yet. The only true scare factor of the disease is the network you’re currently watching to get updates from. Ebola, or Ebola virus disease, is contracted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of a sick person. Ebola is not an airborne disease and cannot infect someone unless the fluid is ingested or transferred through a cut or needle prick.

There is no evidence to indicate the possibility of a widespread Ebola epidemic in the United States. The number of infected people continues to climb overseas, but only one has died in the U.S.

News organizations have dedicated entire front pages and airtime to cover this disease and talk to people who are scared about Ebola because of how big a deal those same news organizations made of it in the first place. It’s a cycle that desperately needs to stop.

There is a major difference between American and West African culture when it comes to fighting a disease such as this: resources.

Sadly, many of the African countries currently afflicted with Ebola do not have sewage systems. Since the virus can be transmitted via bodily fluid, this does not bode well. Obviously, however, this is not an issue in America. President Obama recently decided to send 3,000 U.S. troops to West Africa to help fight the spread of Ebola. The troops will train medical professionals, erect care facilities and teach local communities how to treat infected patients. That’s another reason why an epidemic in the United States is highly unlikely.

Don’t let the media scare you without reason. Know the facts, do your research, and take a breath: there won’t be an Ebola epidemic here anytime soon.

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