Americans need to watch it too.
I recently posted on my Facebook page “Okay, people. Seriously. Of the lists of diseases you should be scared of, Ebola isn’t even on it. And the top 5 that terrify me I have a greater chance of getting from liberal upper middle class white American people (or, “anti-vaccers”) than someone coming from another country.
So can we freak out about measles or whooping cough than Ebola?
You will not believe the comments I got. I got one from a woman who is a college professor who said that it wasn’t known how it spread!!
The World Health Organization has as the #1 way to prevent Ebola “Avoid direct contact with body fluids of a person suffering from Ebola or a deceased patient by wearing gloves, goggles, and masks”
Then why is there all this fear?
I have been asked more times than I want to count about my refugee clients bringing Ebola to the USA.
It is actually the most common question right now. Usually the most common question is if they are here legally. My answer to that is usually “I am not sure. Let me ask Homeland Security, since they are the ones who gave them their travel documents.”
(Americans are woefully uninformed, or misinformed, about a lot of things. Refugees/asylees/immigrants are one of the biggest topics I think.)
First: We don’t get many refugees from West Africa.
Second: Refugees get a health screening before they come to the US. Then they get a health screening (and vaccinations!) once they come to the US. I have less fear of getting a disease from my refugees than I do from that upper middle class liberal white professor I mentioned earlier. She is an anti-vaccer and think that if she quarantines her kid once she starts showing symptoms of measles, then she has protected the community. She couldn’t care less about all the kids too young to be vaccinated that she has infected in the two weeks that she was contagious and non-symptomatic. After all, her kid’s immune system is strong enough to fight off measles, but not strong enough to deal with a vaccine!
Sorry. That is a whole other topic. My point is, Ebola is really hard to get. But other, much more common things, are really easy to get.
Third: We get clients from Congo and Uganda all the time, and no one has ever asked if they were bringing Ebola.
Ebola is scary. In Africa.
Ebola is not going to spread in America. Why? Because this is an Africa MSF hospital:
They have too little money, too few resources and too few people who care and way too many patients.
This is an Ebola hospital in America:
They have a heck of a lot of money, one patient at a time and everyone cares.
Think of what would happen if we cared as much about other diseases, ones that we were actually in danger of?
Ebola is easy to not catch. But what about heart disease?
Ebola is hard to spread. But what about measles?
So rather than panic, why don’t we all get educated? Watch the Frontline episode.
Put your energy into something productive.
Donate to Doctors Without Borders/MSF who are at the frontline of this epidemic, and usually all other epidemics as well.
Donate to the Red Cross who are there after the epidemics when the food crisis hits.
Donate to the Peace Corps Ebola Fund The idea is simple — put money directly in the hands of the people who need it most to cover the gaps of the international Ebola relief effort.
Donate to PBS so you can stay informed, rather than let rumor and misinformation win. Those two are bigger killers than Ebola ever will be.