It looks like Ebola isn’t something that’s going away anytime soon. Last week, the first patient to be diagnosed in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, died from the disease. Nina Pham, a nurse who treated Duncan, has been diagnosed, and as of press time, is in stable condition following a plasma transfusion from a doctor who survived the virus.
On Oct. 12, Boston had a scare when a man who had recently traveled to Liberia went to a Braintree clinic with flu-like symptoms. Hysteria ensued, as his car was adorned with biohazard signs to keep people away, and he was escorted by police to a Boston hospital.
On Oct. 13, also in Boston, a team decked out in yellow protective suits greeted an Emirates airplane from Dubai at Logan International Airport, following a report that several people on board had flu-like symptoms.
The same day, a UN worker who contracted the disease while working in Liberia died in Germany.
Los Angeles had a scare, when a sick passenger who had recently visited Africa landed at Los Angeles International Airport. She tested negative for the disease.
Back on the East Coast, two New York City residents who had recently returned from Africa exhibited symptoms of Ebola, but also tested negative.
It’s no surprise that potential and actual cases are popping up, but to turn the situation into a political war – as The Agenda Project did, with an online ad blaming republicans for the crisis – is really missing the mark and taking the focus off of the key issue of containing the outbreak and preventing future cases in the United States.
Let the Centers for Disease Control do their job, stop adding to the frenzy by speculating that “they aren’t telling us everything” or that “the disease is airborne and they are lying to us.”
Lies and cover ups will not benefit anyone, nor will playing into unnecessary hysteria. Case in point – nearly 50 people were in contact with Duncan while he was contagious, and a number of those didn’t take any Ebola precautions, as they didn’t know he was infected on his first visit to the emergency room. Only one has been diagnosed.
We choose to accept what Dr. Joel Selanikio, a former U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist told the Washington Post: “Ebola is not a terribly infectious disease. It’s quite difficult to get.”