8 Reasons Why Ebola Won’t Become An American Epidemic
The world has been in a standstill since the dreaded Ebola virus left the confines of Africa and entered the United States and other developed nations. While the disease is indeed dangerous, there are many reasons why we should not fear it becoming a major epidemic. As the news spreads and people become more frightened, it’s important to keep the particulars of the disease in perspective.
It’s Not Easily Transmitted
Healthcare workers and family members are the ones most susceptible to getting the disease because they are in direct contact with infected patients. The disease can only be spread by contact with infected fluids such as blood and sweat. Unlike many other viruses, it is not transmitted by air. This makes it much more difficult to transmit to a large population of people, especially in developed countries.
Patient Must Be Symptomatic
Many diseases are communicable even if the person who has it doesn’t have any symptoms. With these diseases, people can be passing the virus to people for days or weeks without knowing. Ebola can only be transmitted to another person if the carrier has symptoms. That could mean simply fever or flu like symptoms, but there must be something and it cannot be transmitted before then.
Better Access To Healthcare
In counties like Africa, previous outbreaks have had a mortality rate of 90 percent compared to about 53 percent for the current outbreak. That is primarily because these areas lack appropriate access to medical care. The disease could spread for months before it reached the proper medical authorities and could be contained. Many of the people who first contract the disease died without ever receiving medical care. In the U.S. and other developed countries, quick access to healthcare is available.
The disease is spread by contact with infected fluids or environment, but simple soap and water is enough to kill it. In underdeveloped African countries, villages may share a communal well, clothing, food, etc. and washing with clean water is a luxury they cannot often afford. In the U.S., hand washing to prevent diseases is common practice as is the regular use of hand sanitizers. People are already doing the best possible thing to prevent the spread of the disease.
Rationality of the Populous
People in Africa that have become sick with the disease are often ostracized and condemned by friends and even family because of irrational fears. The infected and even medical workers have been attacked out of fear of the disease. Even people who survive the disease are often treated as pariahs as people still fear possible contamination. In the U.S., we do not suffer from the same irrational fears. If someone is sick, then they are rushed to the nearest hospital not ostracized, attacked and kicked out of their home.
Precautions Already Taking Place
Ebola is now in the United States and as it peeks its ugly head in various other countries as well, several major airports have begun assessments of people with possible symptoms. While this is likely only temporary, it shows that the United States and other countries are taking a proactive approach in heading the disease off at the pass. Anyone with symptoms is being held for analysis and hospitals across the nation are being trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
No Local Carrier Animals
It is suspected that fruit bats, monkeys and other African animals were the initial carriers of the disease and eating the animals is what first caused the transfer to humans. The ingesting of an infected animal is still one of the primary ways Ebola outbreaks begin. Since the majority of the food people in the U.S. is heavily processed, the likelihood of an outbreak starting this way is slim. As there are none of the carrier animals indigenous to the United States, even those that eat wild game will get the disease. Also, the possibility of the disease infecting a wild animal in the U.S. is also slim.
The Center for Disease Control
While there has been some criticism of the CDC’s handling of the current outbreak, the reality is the organization is made up of most scientifically and medically knowledgeable people on the planet. It has been because of their quick thinking that the disease hasn’t spread across African borders sooner. It was never a question of if Ebola would spread out of Africa, but when. The Atlanta, Georgia based organization will make sure the threat of Ebola is effectively neutralized.