Are you freaked out now? If so, you’re like a lot of Americans, who start sweating with fear at the very mention of the word, seized by Ebola panic. But how scared should you really be about Ebola? After all, the deadly disease has now killed about 4,500 people, the vast majority of them in three West African countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
If you are consuming a steady diet of Ebola media coverage, it is not surprising that you’re scared. The news media, Fox News in particular, has been leading the way with doomsday declarations about the deadly disease.
But we’re here to say — chill out. We’ve got everything you need to know about Ebola in one video, and you can watch the whole thing, put together by our level-headed friends at BuzzFeed, in about a minute and a half.
If you’re still worried about catching Ebola, or feel yourself coming down with something and are consumed with fear that you might have Ebola, watch the video. Or just print out the following Ebola quiz from the informative news site Vox and tape it to your refrigerator.
We certainly don’t mean to make light of Ebola, which has killed about 70 percent of the people who have contracted the virus in the current West African epidemic. The disease is extremely serious and frightening, and its violent symptoms are especially horrifying.
The fact is, however, that Ebola is very, very difficult to catch. Despite what you hear on TV sometimes, the United States has an extremely modern health care system. The primary reason that Ebola has spread so widely in West Africa is that those impoverished countries have poor health care that quickly became overwhelmed by the current epidemic which began in March.
You may hear media reports about the Ebola virus “going airborne,” but that, too, is extremely unlikely. In fact, scientists who study how viruses are transmitted say they have never seen a virus change the way it passes from person to person, even with 100 years worth of data.
“The likelihood that Ebola virus will go airborne is so remote that we should not use it to frighten people,” says Columbia University virologist Vincent Racaniello. “We need to focus on stopping the epidemic, which in itself is a huge job.”
Also, widespread corruption in those countries has led to a general distrust of government and public institutions on the part of large numbers of people in the region, who have become convinced that Ebola is not real — and refused to cooperate with efforts to contain the disease.
If after watching this BuzzFeed video you want more hard facts about Ebola, download the Center For Disease Control Ebola Fact Sheet at this link. And now, relax!