Ebola-mania

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This is August and the Ebola virus panic is on. Seems like every summer we get some kind of hysteria about something. This summer it appears to be Ebola, with two confirmed cases under quarantine in Atlanta and others being investigated in New York and elsewhere. The two Americans, a doctor and a female medical worker were flown back to the states from West Africa where they were treating Ebola patients when they contracted the disease. So far those two are the only confirmed cases, but the speculation of more has gone wild.

One internet report on infowars.com began with the banner headline: “U.S. Health Authorities Concealing Number of Suspected Ebola Victims From Public” and the subhead, “CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta: At least 6 tested for Ebola in NYC.” The story on CNN was a segment on the admission of a potential Ebola victim at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported that there have been at least six cases at the hospital which prompted doctors to test for Ebola but that the details were not divulged publicly.

“There have been about a half a dozen patients who have had their blood tested because of concern, those particular patients their stories were not made public,” said Gupta, adding, “I’m not sure if that’s because of heightened concern by the hospital or what that means exactly.”

There was one case that was made public at the hospital and the patient was immediately put into isolation as a precaution but no one is sure yet if the man truly has the virus.

The internet article went on to say that health authorities are downplaying the likelihood of Ebola going airborne, but studies by Canadian scientists suggest that it could be otherwise. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s official website states that “airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated.”

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

And CBS reported this last Tuesday:  “The worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in history could actually be much worse than the official death toll reflects. Already, the World Health Organization says 887 people have died, but a top doctor working at the heart of the outbreak in West Africa says many cases are going unreported.

“The senior doctor, who works for a leading medical organization in Liberia, explained to CBS News’ Debora Patta that what has helped set this outbreak apart from previous ones is the virus’ spread in urban areas. One of the epicenters of the disease is the Liberian capital of Monrovia, home to about a million people, or almost a quarter of the country’s population.”

And then there was the story out of Columbus, Ohio. According to the Columbus Public Health Department, a 46-year-old woman was put in isolation in a local hospital with a potential case of the Ebola virus. The woman had recently returned from a trip to a foreign country that is affected by the Ebola virus outbreak. A sample was sent to the CDC for examination, and according to the Ohio Department of Health, the woman’s test results were not positive, and she does not have Ebola. She is reportedly “doing well” in her recovery. Again, she does not have Ebola. But that little detail doesn’t stop the story from being widely reported anyway.

Meanwhile, British Airways has cancelled flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia, cutting off the only direct links between Britain and the Ebola-infected area of West Africa “due to the deteriorating public health situation in both countries,” a spokesman said. Flights may resume after August 31st. Well, there goes my Club Med Liberian dream get-away.

Now, I’m not attempting to trivialize the seriousness of the Ebola virus, there’s no question that it is deadly and has killed nearly 900 people in West Africa. According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is one of the most deadly viruses on Earth with a fatality rate between approximately 50 to 90 percent. There is no cure.

However, as serious as this is, remember we only have two Ebola cases in America, and those two were brought over here on purpose from Africa. Gee, I wish they hadn’t done that. Let’s hope it wasn’t a mistake. In the meantime the American news media has gone wild with this thing, the Ebola panic of 2014. Another summer hysteria.

Except this one is a bit different from say, the usual summer shark attack hysteria. With the sharks you simply stay out of the ocean. There’s no place to hide with an Ebola breakout. Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, muscle weakness, sore throat and headaches. If you have all those things the first rule is to stay away from me.  Far, far away!

Seriously, try not to worry too much about this summer hysteria. Remember, autumn is just around the corner.

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Crosby’s Corner

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