Ebola and You: And why the two are likely never to meet

Ebola and You: And why the two are likely never to meet

Patrick Kernan, Opinion Editor

It’s been all over the news since the summertime.

“Ebola outbreak bad news for West Africa,” the headlines read, while the articles were usually fraught with the implication “And it’s coming for you!”

But here’s the thing: it’s not, and it was never going to.

As I write this article on Nov. 11, CNN is reporting that Dr. Craig Spencer, the doctor who contracted the disease in Africa and brought it back to New York City, is leaving the hospital.
Spencer began his news conference by saying, “Today I am healthy, and no longer infectious.” With Spencer’s release from the hospital, there are no longer any known cases of individuals with Ebola in the United States.

It was unlikely that Ebola ever would have been a major issue in the United States anyway, though. According to the CDC, the only ways for a person to contract Ebola is to either somehow ingest the bodily fluids of someone who has it, or to eat an infected fruit bat or primate.

For Americans, the second method of contracting Ebola is obviously not a problem, since neither fruit bats nor primates are a part of the average American’s diet.

However, the first way of contracting Ebola is not much of a problem for Americans, either. This is mostly due to the fact that America’s health care technology and hygienic standards are of a far higher quality than those of West Africa.

As Spencer said in his news conference, “Early detection is critical to both surviving Ebola and ensuring that it is not transmitted to others.” Early detection is something that is possible in the United States but comparatively difficult in West Africa.

Try not to get too worried about Ebola. Unless you’ve recently been to West Africa or are close with someone who has, your chances of contracting the disease are incredibly small, even if someone else contracts the disease in the United States. Soon, Ebola will join the ranks of SARS, bird flu, and mad cow disease: illnesses that were more important to news media than to the average American.

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