I had planned on writing a series of articles on potential threats and their chances of becoming a serious issue. Current events pushed this one to the top of the list. The United States has its first case of Ebola in history. This sounds very frightening, and there is a lot of talk about it right now.
Yes, Ebola has made it here. Yes, it is a concern. NO, you should not start to panic. This eventuality has already been planned for by the CDC. Even small, rural hospitals have received information from the CDC relating to identifying potential infections and proper isolation of patients. The chances of Ebola becoming widespread in the U.S. are small.
Ebola is a very lethal virus, with a mortality rate ranging from 25% to 90%. However, it can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of someone infected. It is also believed at this time that a patient is not contagious until symptoms present. This makes it considerably less likely to become a major pandemic like most respiratory illnesses such as Influenza.
I look at comments on news articles and posts by friends on Facebook and realize that we are on the verge of a major pandemic of PANIC. Panic is always counterproductive. When people panic they do dumb things. Dumb things in real emergency can become disasters. Getting into a state of panic is easy for most people, but with a little bit of information, it can usually be overcome. At the end of the article, you’ll find several links to very reputable sources containing information to better understand this disease and how it relates to you.
For weeks I’ve been watching events in Africa. What concerns me more are the events here. People were already starting to freak out. Now we have a case here. Expect this freakout to go into overdrive. This case of Ebola is 40 miles from me. It’s here where I and millions of others live. I fully expect to see our hospital ERs overrun with people freaking out because they have a runny nose or a low grade fever. This is going to stress the staff of the hospitals. They will have to triage people that have a 0% chance of contacting this one infected person. That makes it harder for them to help those that really need it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see people going to the ER like this all over the country. It’s just the way people panic.
A lot of preppers I know are jumping on the panic bandwagon. “What do we do?” “How do we prepare?” “Is it time to self quarantine?” are a few things I’ve already seen. Some of these are logical questions, some are fear driven. We all make poor decisions when we make them in fear. The first thing to do is take stock of the situation. This can’t be done in a panic. Here’s what we know…
A patient contracted Ebola on a trip to west Africa. They brought it home to Dallas. When they started showing symptoms, they went to the hospital. The hospital recognized this as a potential infection and properly isolated the patient. Tests came back positive. The CDC is now involved.
At this point, the CDC is going to be putting its full effort into this case. They will most likely locate anyone that could have had contact with this patient after becoming symptomatic. There will be teams to determine if these people need to be isolated. It may seem like an impossible task, but these teams will be professional and well trained. Containing any potential outbreak is what they do. At this point, the CDC is even saying that people on the flight with the patient are not thought to be at any risk.
At this point, that is pretty much all we know. We have one case, and some people that will need to be monitored. This DOES NOT mean there is an Ebola outbreak in Texas. This is an isolated case for right now. Of course, it is worth keeping a close eye on the situation, but it should not cause you to disrupt your normal life.