Ebola Affects Millions

An infection of the mind, not the body, has been threading through the psyche of American citizens. Popular American media and common news outlets project such egregious amounts of coverage on a subject that is so infinitesimal in scope, it is shameful.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there have been a miniscule three confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States.  From the amount of fear mongering by popular media, one would think the number of confirmed cases would be approaching the thousands!

Common news practice seems to be an  active inflation of issues that insight any attention from the public; even if through a vessel of dread.

Ebola has been the most prevalent news story coursing throughout the media in the last several months.  Unfortunately the merit of the topic lies with no true value other than the uncanny ability to draw large amounts of people into dismay.

“Doctor” Oz, a well known T.V. personality stated that Ebola is “the biggest medical crisis our country, and the world is facing.”

This is a particularly deplorable example of the prevalent yellow journalism surrounding Ebola. Hyperbolic statements like this are toxic in that they promote an unwarranted escalation of fear based on no factual information.

If one was to simply view world wide fatalities and productivity loss caused from the virus, Ebola is a drop in the ocean when compared to the myriad of more important problems facing the United States.

Ebola is a non-airborne disease, which means that the only method of transmission is direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is affected with the virus.  This being rather unlikely considering the last diagnosed Ebola patient recovered and was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center on November 11.

For someone in California to become infected with Ebola they would need to book a flight to West Africa and give a big smooch to someone afflicted with the virus. There would seem to be a general distaste for such an act however.

The miniscule amount of those infected in the United States coupled with the relatively non contagious nature of the disease would seem to put people at ease.  Unfortunately despair drawn from mass media coverage eclipses most reason and fact regarding the subject.

The Harvard School of Public Health Conducted a Survey and found that four in ten adults in the United States are concerned with a large outbreak of Ebola.  On top of this it is was also found that a quarter of adults believe they or someone in their immediate family may be infected with the disease within a year.

False worry around the virus is as a result of the ignorance surrounding the subject. Those who have these ideas about Ebola think that it poses a serious threat to a well developed country with advanced health care and medical technology.

The reason that Ebola, despite its low transmission rate, is spreading through places like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone has very little to do with the characteristics of the virus.  People in third world countries are malnourished, impoverished and have poor health care. Any disease in locals with such characteristics has an exponentially higher likelihood to cause serious and irreparable damage.

When considering the virus’s infective potential in the United States, the possibility of a continental outbreak is incredibly slim.

The widespread panic drawn from the disease isn’t a result of its potential pose a warranted threat to the United States, but a result of the media’s ability to perpetuate fear to a partially uninformed public.