Ebola in the US: Should We Be Worried?

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For the past few weeks, every time we turn on the TV, we are bombarded with the latest news on Ebola, the deadly West-African disease that has Americans freaking out. Though Ebola has been present in Africa since 1976, it has only just reached American soil and people are scared. So far, only one person has died from the disease in the U.S., and at least four other people that were diagnosed with it were cured, showing promise in modern medicine. Unfortunately, this disease is still a concern. CDC (Center for Disease Control) officials say that the disease can only be spread through bodily fluids, making the illness difficult to catch. Unfortunately, the virus is so strong that it can live outside the body for hours, making, not just the bodily fluid itself, but any surface that the fluid comes in contact with contagious. The good news, however, is that an infected person is only contagious once they show symptoms of the virus, and by then, the patient is probably already very sick and at a hospital. While some are saying that we are blowing this whole thing out of proportion, Ebola is still a threat even if it is difficult – though not impossible – to catch.

The latest news in the ongoing Ebola saga is that an American nurse who was treating Ebola patients in Africa has returned to the U.S. and refused quarantine. When she entered New Jersey, Governor Christie enforced his right to demand that she be quarantined for the standard 21 days to make sure she is not carrying the virus. Kaci Hickox, the nurse, was outraged and claimed that this was a violation of her rights because she has tested negative for Ebola twice and has not shown any symptoms. She hired a lawyer and was eventually allowed to travel (by isolation unit) to her home in Maine, where the state’s government is forced to deal with her. The governor of Maine is still awaiting a decision for whether or not he is allow to quarantine her. In the meantime, Hickox is enjoying her freedom by going out, biking with her boyfriend, and talking to reporters. She is monitoring her temperature every day.

In my opinion, Ebola is a serious disease and should be treated as such. This is not the flu; Ebola is deadly and people just are not taking it serious enough. I cannot understand how anyone, especially a nurse, can be so adamant against a quarantine that could help prevent an outbreak here on US soil. I admire her willingness to give aid to the victims in Africa, but I cannot overlook her selfishness when she came back to this country and refused quarantine. When it comes down to it, anyone should be able to give up 21 days of their life for the good of the rest of the population, and any state government official in the United States should have the right to force him/her to do that. We do not have to live in constant fear of Ebola, but I do think we need to be careful. If we take a few precautions now, such as washing our hands more frequently, not sharing drinks, and staying home when you are sick, we could stop this outbreak before it really begins.