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Ebola: The media’s virus

Since August of this year, Ebola has been making headlines and worrying American’s into hysteria. But is this outbreak something we should be concerned to the point that we all start wearing rubber gloves and hazmat masks? The intense media coverage is definitely to blame for the hysteria of this virus.

What we need to do first is make ourselves aware of what Ebola really is and how it is spreading.

According to research on Live Science and the Center for Disease Control, Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever which causes symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, muscle weakness and unexplainable hemorrhaging, it appeared in 1976 in its first known cases in two different places: Sudan and the Dominican Republic of Congo, and fruit bats are to blame. Three individual species of fruit bats were found to be infected with the virus, and it is believed that they are the source of the current outbreak in Guinea.

Ebola was first introduced to America when two missionary doctors, Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol, who were working overseas, were flown to Atlanta to be treated. Good news: after three weeks in isolation they were discharged, and no one else was infected. The first CDC confirmed case of Ebola in America was in Dallas, Texas on Sept 30. Thomas Duncan flew from Liberia to Texas to visit family and visited the hospital a few days later complaining of a fever, and upon his return to the hospital he was diagnosed with Ebola.

Since then, the CDC has confirmed only four other patients with Ebola: two of which were Duncan’s nurses and were in contact with him and two others who were working in Liberia. They have been isolated and are in treatment for their cases.

Ebola has been nicknamed “The Caretaker’s disease” due to the fact that the only way to contract the virus is through contact with an infected patients bodily fluids (such as blood or saliva) or with  syringes that have been used on infected patients. Note: the virus is not spread by water and is not airborne, and no evidence proves that it can be contracted through mosquitos.

So there we have it. Seven people in the United States have been confirmed with Ebola out of the rough 320 million people in the country. Yet we still are frightened with terrorizing media headlines with big bold letters saying “breaking news” and what the government “isn’t telling us.” We see it every day.

So here are some positive ways to think about it to keep yourself from worrying:

Have you been in contact with an Ebola patient’s bodily fluids? No. You don’t have Ebola.

Have you travelled to places where the Ebola outbreak is really that extreme? No. You don’t have Ebola.

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