Monday, November 17, 2014

Why You Should Not Worry About Ebola: A Reality Check

The news is bombarding us with stories about the Ebola problem.....but let's take a deep breath and get real: The actual danger is infinitesimal to us.



Ebola has really only been prevalent in African countries, and concentrated in these: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and a few cases in Nigeria--four small countries on the eastern coast of the continent. There is no, or practically no, ebola in the entire rest of the continent.

A teacher in Kentucky resigned due to backlash after returning from visiting Kenya. Clearly, there was no danger of his having contracted Ebola.

And, sadly, the state of health care in these countries is pretty grim. Health care in the US and other developed countries is much, much, better.

Crowded hospital: notice people sleeping on the floor. How clean is it?
Is this your idea of a safe and sanitary medical facility?

Even in Africa, a person is more likely to die from Malaria, syphilis, Tuberculosis, diarrhea, or AIDS.

                 Lack of knowledge of basic hygiene, or an inability to maintain it, leads to much more disease than in a more developed country. Imagine living this way. It's a wonder anyone survives.

Since we know there is some risk, our hospital and airport personnel have received training to prevent the spread of the disease. Are these people flawless in their detection? No, but the chance of them missing it is fairly small.


It is easy to detect and to isolate those who have it.

The food you eat won't be affected; it spreads by sharing bodily fluids

There is a low death rate for Ebola when treated properly.

                 Doctors Without Borders try to help people, even when they need to be treated outdoors.

The disease is not airborne: You can't catch it if an infected person sneezes close to you, for example.

So, what do we do to be protected?
  • Remember that people entering the US from affected countries are all being checked before they are released into the country, and don't be too concerned about it

  • If someone has the symptoms of Ebola, especially if they have recently traveled to the affected countries, that person will be carefully monitored and admitted to a hospital if necessary.

  • Hospitals have specific measures they are or will be taking if they have need to: they know how to protect their workers and other patients. Don't be afraid to go to a hospital because of a fear of Ebola.

  • Simply washing hands will help to prevent the spread of Ebola--and other diseases, too.
I might add: Get a flu shot!! Many more people die or have serious illness with flu than will ever have with Ebola.

Here are some examples of ways you might die that are far more likely than from Ebola: Ebola kills one in about 309 Million people:

  • Spider bite
  • Earthquake
  • Bee sting
  • Boating accident
  • Falling out of bed
For a longer list, go to:

It's fine to be aware of it, but don't let worrying about Ebola make you overly anxious.

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