Ok, so the whole Ebola thing just got a little more frightening for me. Of course I have been concerned about it, but honestly, it seemed a world away. And, as can happen when things are a world away, you go on with your crazy life and follow from afar on the news.
And then my husband had to travel to Texas … the same week that a patient there died from Ebola. And now, a second person–the patient’s nurse–has been diagnosed. So, I’m freaking out a little on the inside.
My first real understanding of Ebola came years ago when I read The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus and it scared the shit out of me. If you don’t know about the book (it was published in 1995), it’s the true story about how Ebola rocked the suburbs of Washington, D.C., when a monkey house became full of dying monkeys contaminated with the virus. For that strain of Ebola, 90 percent of the people infected died.
When I first read this book, my husband told me that I wasn’t allowed to read it at bedtime. Apparently, my nights were filled with fitful, fighting, mumbling sleep each night I feel asleep while reading it. So, you can understand my concern with current happenings. I’m not buying family hazmat suits (yet), but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about the outbreak of Ebola in the U.S.
Ebola is a virus and, just like many viruses, has different strains. Although experts aren’t completely sure, they believe that the virus started in bats in Africa. (This is covered extensively in The Hot Zone book.) The CDC says Ebola has five strains (four of which can be contracted by humans) and if you contract one of the strains you have a 50-90 percent chance of dying.
According to CNN, “Ebola is actually difficult to catch. People are at risk if they come into very close contact with the blood, saliva, sweat, feces, semen, vomit or soiled clothing of an Ebola patient, or if they travel to affected areas in West Africa and come into contact with someone who has Ebola.”
However, the article also goes on to state, “The World Health Organization estimates more than 8,300 people have contracted Ebola during this year’s outbreak. Of those, more than 4,000 have died.”
I don’t know about you, but those odds don’t comfort me.
So, what do you think? Are you concerned about Ebola?
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