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Ebola: Fact vs. Fiction

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVM chapter.

If it isn’t the disease you’ll catch, it’s the wind of Ebola in the media. No matter where you turn, it’s as though you can’t escape the grips of the tantalizing virus. News reports flash left and right, new data pops up every second and another story floods social media. Sadly enough, most of these are in regards to Ebola in America, rather than Africa, and result in fear or disgust.

So let’s set the story straight: your chances of getting Ebola in America are miniscule when compared to areas in Africa. According to the Boston Globe, “If you live in the US your worry-level should be quite low. Ebola doesn’t have the disease profile to spread in a place with reasonable medical resources.” In the midst of facing this epidemic, the most important thing that we can do is keep ourselves as educated as possible.


      With that being said, let’s all take a deep breath and consider the facts with these cases:

       The news just reported an Ebola case that’s somewhat, sort of, kind of close to you.

You think: I’m going to get infected; I know it – time to break out the HAZMAT suit!

In reality: Ebola virus is not spread through casual contact, air, water, or food grown or legally purchased in the United States


Ebola is contracted through direct contact with:

Body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola. (blood, vomit, urine, feces, swear, semen, spit, other fluids)

Objects contaminated with the virus (needles, medical equipment

Infected animals (by contact with blood or fluids or infected meat

The disease is still spreading like wildfire in Africa, and now more cases are appearing outside of the reported case in your town.


You think: America, we had a great run…

In reality: According to Everydayhealth.com, “In a Gallup poll of over 1,000 Americans taken on Oct 5, 2014, one fifth were worried about contracting Ebola. Still, the chances you’ll be exposed to Ebola in the United States are very low because of the tight infection control practices of public health workers here.”

Kasey has gone to the doctors and is under testing for Ebola.

You think: Kasey and I hung out two months ago at that basement party. Maybe I should get tested – I’m going to get tested – WHERE CAN I GET TESTED?!

In reality: Ebola can only be spread to others after symptoms begin. Symptoms can appear from 2 to 21 days after exposure.

It only spreads when people are sick and after 21 days, if an exposed person does not develop symptoms, they will not become sick with Ebola.


Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/facts-about-ebola.pdf