Calm down, everyone!
Here are some ebola facts:
- There are actually 5 different ebola viruses that cause hemorrhagic (bleeding) fever.
- Ebola is not very contagious because it is not air-borne
- Initial symptoms are fever, body ache, diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting
- The incubation period is up to 21 days
The average American is not going to be at risk for ebola. Direct contact with body fluid is needed so standing in a room or an airplane with an ebola victim will not cause infection. Gunshots kill more than 30,000 Americans a year. Now there is a risk for you to worry about!
Healthcare professionals, trash collectors and airline clean up crews are the most at risk of exposure to Ebola virus. Those workers should keep abreast of current events and take precautions. Until the infection can be controlled in Africa, there is always the chance that a traveler will have silent disease. The best way the World can protect itself is to help Africa contain the infection. This does not mean closing airports. That would simply prevent needed help and cause the virus to spread across borders to other countries in Africa.
What can you do? First, get a flu shot. As winter approaches, influenza will be here and it causes some of the same early symptoms as ebola. I worry about our Emergency Departments being crushed by people with flu symptoms who think they may have ebola. Please make it easy on all of us and
Get a Flu Shot!
Second, send some $$ to your favorite relief organization. I recommend Partners in Health and International Medical Corp. I have personally worked with both of these organizations and they do wonderful relief work around the world.