Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why shouldn’t we worry about Ebola here in the US?”you ask? Good question . . . timely too. (It sure beats answering the question: “Why are doctors preoccupied with your butthole once you turn 50?”)
Let’s get one thing straight. It’s good to care about others. We’re here to help others. (Of course, if that is really true what are “the others” supposed to do?) Seriously though, we don’t want anyone to misunderstand.
By now everyone knows of the one infected patient being treated at a Dallas hospital. He picked it up in Liberia which is currently at the heart of an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The National Journal reports over 6,200 folks “have been infected this year, and at least 2,917 of them have died, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization.”
There is no cure and no vaccine. Caught early it is fatal in 60 percent of patients and if discovered too late it’s fatal in 90 percent of patients. Still, why shouldn’t we worry about Ebola here in the US? There are many reasons not to panic about a major outbreak here in the US:
With the exception of a potential few folks who came in contact with the Dallas patient, US citizens have not come into contact with the blood, feces, sweat, vomit and other bodily fluids of an infected person. Conditions here are also much different than those in West Africa.
The average citizens in West Africa doesn’t know squat about Ebola. Scientists there don’t know much more. People there threaten to kill doctors and block roads to keep medical teams out. According to The New York Times “people think that just saying “Ebola” aloud makes the disease appear.” Here in the US we have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies who have explained about Ebola multiple times.
West Africa has some burial practices such as washing, touching and kissing the dead bodies of loved ones and infected people are most contagious when dead. Here we have much safer ways of caring for our dead that don’t put people at risk.
The West African nations involved don’t have the public health education resources that we have in the US. Even standard hygiene measures like washing your hands after using the restroom are uncommon in the more remote villages of the nations at the center of the Ebola outbreak
The nations affected by the outbreak don’t have the resources to treat patients, let alone contain the Ebola virus. It is difficult to provide what we in the US consider “routine care” for patients in West Africa.
Potential Ebola cases herein the US are taken dead seriously. We have the CDC and other organizations here in the US. More than other countries, we have what it takes to cut down an outbreak.
Why shouldn’t we worry about Ebola here in the US? Now you know.
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