Ebola: What It Is And 6 Things More Likely To Happen Than Catching It

If you’ve opened a newspaper, watched television, or, you know, existed, at some point in the past two months, chances are you’ve heard someone talking about Ebola. But what exactly is it? Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever, which is a type of fever that damages blood vessels, causing them to leak blood. Because of how devastating symptoms can be, the mortality rate for the current outbreak (which began in February in West Africa) is around 70%. This is the largest outbreak Africa has ever seen, and if health workers cannot contain it, over 10,000 new cases could be diagnosed per week.

The largest reason for this intensity of this outbreak is the lack of a developed healthcare system in West African countries. Treatment for Ebola requires that a patient is isolated and hydrated, a very difficult case in cultures where modern doctors are seen as evil. Anyone who had contact with the infected must also be isolated for the duration of the incubation period, which is, at most, 21 days. Additionally, healthcare workers must wear advanced biohazard suits, which cover 100% of the body and have no openings in them at all. Most West African countries do not even have enough facemasks and rubber gloves, let alone biohazard suits. The virus is most easily transmissible immediately after a patient dies, requiring that all bodies are doused in chlorine (a fail safe way to kill the virus) and then cremated. This violates many West African burial customs, which include intensive touching and washing of the body post mortem.

Ever since Liberian Thomas Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola while visiting Dallas in September, Ebola has been on America’s mind. Over 4,500 African people have died so far, and even though the World Health Organization predicts that number could rise to one million by the years end, odds are, you won’t be one of them. Only one person has died in America and the disease is only spread through direct bodily contact with contaminated fluids (like blood- yuck), which means that unless you have personally interacted with an infected person, your odds of dying from Ebola are zero. There have been no reported cases of Ebola in New York, and New York has a specialized biohazard containment unit designed to deal with highly dangerous diseases, like Ebola, should a patient enter the country.

Ebola is not something that you, the average college student, have to worry about personally affecting them. This is, however, affecting a large portion of Africa. If you would like to donate to the cause, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders are two charitable organizations doing extensive work to help stop the epidemic. That being said, here are six things (both good and bad!) that are way more likely to happen to you:

Win at least $1 mil in the lottery

1500 people every year are lucky enough to win some extra cash. Winning would definitely take the sting out of paying for textbooks.

Sing on stage with Paramore

44 people were lucky enough to join the pop-punk band on stage during their sold out Monumentour. And yes, all 44 people freaked out.

Get killed by a vending machine

35 people a year since 1975 have been squished while trying to get their afternoon sugar fix. Consider this good reason not to shake an extra snack out!

Bend your new iPhone

Apple got complaints from nine people that their iPhone 6 Plus bent. Luckily, Apple replaced all bent models and the problem shortly went away!

Be dumped by Taylor Swift

Since her rise to fame, Taylor has dated (and broken up with) six people. You're six times more likely to wind up on an album as opposed to the ER.

Be a Kardashian sister

Three women are lucky enough to be actual Kardashians- five if you count the Jenner sisters, and six if you count Lord Disick (which I do).