Warning from the Scientific Community
It is interesting to see the Ebola virus disease (EVD) issue emerge in America today especially in the mass media. Many Americans obsess about Ebola in the States while we and the rest of the world attempt to control Ebola at its source: Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria. There have been estimates of 5,000 deaths already in that area of Africa.
However, as we attempt to control Ebola in West Africa, we are working at stopping it in America. At the writing of this essay, one traveler from Liberia came to the States with it and died. In addition, two nurses contracted it from him. There is also an American medical doctor that returned to the States with Ebola. Therefore, the total number of people with Ebola in the States is 4-cases resulting in 1-death, which was from a person that had contracted Ebola in West Africa. No Americans have contracted Ebola and died.
While the fear of an Ebola pandemic in the States is a concern among some Americans, I would not put it very high on issues that should cause Americans undue concern. This is an aside: I recently had cataracts removed from my eyes and was having some problems with seeing clearly. When I spoke with a retinologist, he asked what were my concerns or problems. In an attempt to be funny, I asked him whether it was Ebola related. He did not see my sense of humor.
Back to the far more serious concern, we need to help West Africa address Ebola there. Our time, talent, money, and concern should be focused there and not here with a plague-like fear of Ebola in America. Ebola infected people are not sneaking across our border with Canada and Mexico and neither are ISIS terrorists.
My doctorate is not in medicine...granted. Now, I have traveled to many countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East over the past half century. I do understand some of the concern regarding Ebola and its transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that transmission is through bodily fluids of the victim. I understand that concern better than most people do. I have had food poisoning a number of times while overseas. Anyone that has spent several hours in an emergency room being treated for food poisoning will understand the issue of bodily fluids. Trust me.
However, let us put the issue of the Ebola plague-like issue into perspective. Globally, there are annually 250,000 to 500,000 deaths due to influenza. In the States during the 2012-2013 flu season, 169 children died. As for adult deaths, the CDC does not log the number of death among adults. However, they were able to calculate that 7.5% of all American's health related deaths related the flu. The CDC considers anything above 7.2% an "epidemic." In 1918, 675,000 Americans died as the result of what was called the Spanish flu or the H1N1 virus.
Nevertheless, one person coming to the States dies as a result of Ebola and three other contracted Ebola and have not died. Interestingly, the CDC estimates that during the flu season 36,000 Americans will die. There seems to be a logical disconnect between our hysteria over Ebola and the flu.
You are probably wondering what Stephen Hawking, the noted theoretical physicist and cosmologist, has to say about Ebola and the resultant clamor over Ebola attacking Americans. At NASA's 50th anniversary celebration in 2008, a half dozen years ago before the Ebola hysteria, he made an all-encompassing comment about human beings in general. His comment certainly applies to the reactions of many Americans to Ebola, "Primitive life is very common, and intelligent life is very rare." Then he added this caveat, "Some would say it (meaning intelligent life) has yet to occur on Earth."
If you wish another scientific authority beyond Stephen Hawking to address Ebola, you might wish to view this video.
Visit the Stupid is As Stupid Does page to read more about this topic.