Ebola in the US: Hysteria and Hyperbole

This is a scary world we live in. There is plenty to be worried about, from the our economic future to the NSA spying on us. But Ebola, in the United States at least, is not one of those things. We can all agree that Ebola is a terrible disease, and definitely something that needs to be dealt with. However, it is not worthy of the mass hysteria it has brought in America. There is a very low chance that an extended outbreak will ever take place in the United States, and the panic is entirely unwarranted for several reasons.

Ebola screening at Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Ebola screening at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

First of all, Ebola is not particularly easy to transmit. Patients are only contagious if they show symptoms. If you don’t have any symptoms, there is no chance of you spreading the disease. This means that there isn’t a very big risk for people traveling and in cities. There is an understandable fear about ebola patients spreading the disease unwittingly, and people getting sick without even knowing where it came from. However, this is not an issue with Ebola, because in order to spread the disease you have to already show it’s symptoms.

In addition Ebola is spread by bodily fluids, and not by air. This means that the only way of getting it is by physically touching the fluids of someone who is already infected. It makes sense that healthcare professionals have a high infection rate, because they are the ones who care for Ebola patients and are therefore prone to exposure. For the average person though, there is no reason why you would ever come into contact with an Ebola patient’s fluids. This means that a large outbreak, in the US at least, seems unlikely.

Most importantly, the sensationalist response to Ebola is only hurting us. The media has instilled a sense of fear in the American public, despite the likelihood of a large outbreak being fairly small. There are many health issues that we should be worrying about, and by freaking out about Ebola we are only wasting time we should devoting to bigger issues. For example, an approximate 300,000 people die every year from obesity related complications. But instead of talking about that, the media sensationalizes Ebola in an effort to get viewers. Throughout this ordeal, we have seen again and again that our media places ratings over truth in their reporting. Regardless of what media outlets are telling you, Ebola will likely not spread in America, and the panic that it has brought is wholly unnecessary.

— Henry Vehslage, Social Media Director


Posted by on November 5, 2014. Filed under World News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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