Ebola is a dirty word. Each time it is thought or spoken aloud, fear grows, as does tragedy. For a while, those who reside in the United States were able to watch from afar as the outbreak took lives in Africa. With baited breath, we watched, hoping and willing it not to make its way to American soil. Then two infected aid workers were brought to Atlanta, Georgia, at which point the fear grew. Those two people survived the disease and were released to go home and return to their normal lives. A bullet was dodged.
That bullet, however, did not go on to land harmlessly without impact. Instead, it gained momentum and made its way back around. This bullet has now taken the form of a man named Thomas Duncan. This man, who arrived in the United States from Liberia, brought with him a nasty surprise that will keep on giving...or will it? This 'surprise' was Ebola, wrapped up nice and neat in a box of lies.
It has been widely reported that Mr. Duncan was in an area of Africa where the Ebola outbreak was running unchecked. Before leaving that area, he cared for an infected neighbor, a pregnant woman. When he boarded his plane to leave, however, he seemed to have forgotten all of these minor details. As it turns out, the questions he was required to answer before boarding his flight had answers that differed from reality. They were lies, if you will, and with those lies in tow, Mr. Duncan was allowed to board that flight and thereby bring Ebola to the United States, setting it loose in Dallas, Texas.
If you've watched the news recently, you have probably seen a multitude of experts weighing in on the likelihood of an Ebola outbreak in the United States. They make it out to be no big deal, in some cases claiming it isn't contagious at all. I'm not sure where some of these so-called experts got their information, but it does seem to be a far cry from other widely available information that discusses the spread of Ebola. All that aside, let's forget about who's wrong and who's right and consider one thing: there would not be an outbreak anywhere if Ebola were not contagious or easily spread.
The original two infected persons brought to the United States included an aid worker and a medical doctor. This doctor spent time in medical school and learned how disease is spread, yet he could not prevent himself from being infected. How well does that bode for the average Joe without a medical degree that unknowingly made contact with Thomas Duncan?
The bottom line in this whole Ebola debacle is to realize that while the worst case scenario is not yet here, it has the potential to arrive, especially if you ask Dr. Gil Mobley, who is taking a stance regarding what he feels is misinformation provided by the CDC. He recently passed through an airport in protective gear to make a point, and in an interview with CBS Philly who had this to say:
"That disease is going to consume every third world country on the planet, and then we will be importing these clusters on a regular basis. I have no question that we will be able to stomp out this cluster in Dallas, but what happens when it happens on a weekly basis? Already the Dallas Health Department is overwhelmed; they're flying people to Atlanta. I don't care how advanced any industrialized nation is, there is a threshold where we will outstretch the resources and it becomes uncontrolled."
Regardless of your feelings regarding the Ebola outbreak, be sure to arm yourself both with as much knowledge as possible along with plans to engage in protective measures. After all, if it were no big deal, the CDC would not be issuing guidelines to United States funeral homes in regards to processing those who die of the disease, right? As potential cases keep popping up and more people are pulled into the contact loop of Thomas Duncan and others like him, those funeral home guidelines may prove necessary regardless of what the experts want you to believe.
What would you like to see done to combat the spread of Ebola in the United States? Are you confident that the CDC has it under control or is your lack of faith disturbing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.