Ebola has killed thousands of people and continues to pose enormous problems for health systems and government policy, in West Africa. In Ohio, and the rest of the United States, Ebola poses little actual risk.
There are currently a total of eight people who have been treated for Ebola in the United States, meaning that about 0.00000002 percent of the population has dealt or is dealing with the deadly disease. Ebola is only transmissible from bodily fluids, meaning that the risk of a wide-spread outbreak is slim to none with appropriate medical precautions. None of that has stopped people from being very afraid of the disease.
The hysteria has prompted wide-spread hoaxes, such as faking the disease to get faster medical coverage, but it's also destroying a small bridal shower in Akron, Ohio.
News hit that Amber Vinson, a nurse who treated an ebola patient before becoming diagnosed herself, visited Coming Attractions Bridal Shop just before her fateful diagnosis. The reaction was immediate and unrelenting, with business nearly completely dead.
Co-owner Donald Younker talked about the situation with CNN.
"It's a little hard to believe that something like Ebola from halfway around the world can affect our lives right here in Akron. The world is clearly smaller than we think."
The New Jersey-based ClorDiSys Solutions has deployed five ultraviolet ray machines, known as the the TORCH UV system, in the store to eliminate any possible trace of the disease from the Ohio bridal shop. As the local news station WQAD 8 reported, the UV machines make the store look like the set of Star Trek. ClorDiSys is doing the cleaning free of charge.
According to Anna Younker, the county health department said that the cleaning measures were unnecessary.
"You don't have to do it if you don't want to, that's what they told us."
Even if Ebola found its way into the Ohio store, it wouldn't live long enough on surfaces to create an actual risk, according to the health officials.
Nevertheless, the Younkers are fighting the PR battle of their lives and they fear that going the extra mile with a high-tech cleaning just won't be enough to cure the fear. Anna Younker explained, "I'm hoping that this will ease everybody's mind that if there's anything floating in my store that it's gonna be gone."
Ultimately the Ohio couple may have to get rid of their entire inventory to scrub away the ebola hysteria.