The discussion around Ebola and the several outbreaks in the news have been gaining momentum for some time now, especially in the past few weeks with the patient in Dallas, Texas.
Every different news conglomerate has a different angle on the situation and a new sensational story with each small incidence or occurrence relating to it; and this news and these things influence a major amount of Americans at this point. I feel though as if the one question everyone was originally so eager to answer, why this spread and how this epidemic happened, has been grossly overlooked. The answer seems very simple to me, failure to implement and follow infection control measures.
In foreign countries it is easy to blame it on the way they are as a society and how poor the countries are, but the fact is Doctors Without Borders, The Red Cross, and other volunteer and relief organizations are briefed before entering a situation on what they need to do to contain or stop the spread of infection. Most of them have had experience in the medical field, and they know the number one thing most healthcare professionals are taught; to take care of yourself because if you’re sick or dead then how can you help anyone else. So why are they taking risks, and why are they exposing themselves and becoming sick along with their patients? Ebola is a Contact and Droplet Based Precautions disease, meaning you have to come into contact with the infected, physically touch them, or a body of one deceased from it, their fluids, bandages, etc. You cannot breathe it in, you cannot get it from being in a building they were in, while the virus may be able to live on inanimate objects it is also going to have a short lifespan. If people originally had been following procedure doing proper hand hygiene, wearing the personal protective equipment correctly, and disinfecting surfaces and areas patients had been in then this would not have spread like it did. And while it may be easy to lay it on the poverty of the country or the inability to get supplies needed the fact is there is always a way to get these things, and follow the proper precautions without breaking quarantines and without risking infection of yourself or others.
The news has sensationalized the risk to the United States beyond belief especially in the last 24 hours since the death of the infected patient in Dallas, and the fact is you’re not going to get Ebola just because you work at a hospital where someone is being treated for it, or you live in their neighborhood, or you were on the plane they were on. It is not transmitted through the air. So many people seem to be under this misconception that if someone with Ebola even breathes in the same area as them, they will become infected and the media is not doing anything to help stop the trend of misinformation that is being spread across the nation and leading to people being afraid, and worrying that they are going to end up catching Ebola, or that it is going to kill off a majority of our populace.
I must be under a gross misconception myself as well, because I thought the purpose of the news corporations and media was to give us awareness of things and facts; but this seems not to be the case in this instance. Rather than focusing on facts, prevention education, and attempting to keep people from over-reacting and stimulating a panic the media is making every story as sensational as possible, and garnering headlines in an attempt to always have the best angle on the story to profit them. Not the most up to date and correct information to help them educate and inform the general populace.
The fact is Ebola is contact based, you have to come into contact with an infected persons bodily fluids, or a deceased patient with Ebola’s fluids, and they have to enter your system through a cut, sore, or mucous membrane. So if someone sneezes on you with it, wash it off! As long as you do not then touch your mouth, eyes, nose, etc. If you haven’t had it on you, then let it get in you, then it’s just not Ebola.
If you are prone to over-reacting especially in the healthcare field then you have the ability to end up spreading panic if you listen to media over the Centers for Disease Control, because the media is not run by healthcare professionals, scientists or histologists. How much can they really verify as being true knowledge? Not much honestly, and the new speculation that Ebola is spread through the air is ridiculous as well.
Ebola spread because people failed to implement proper infection control, and by the time they began to really focus on it; it was too late. Things had already spread onto another continent, and people had traveled from the area not realizing that they had been infected, and not knowing while in an exposure zone that they needed to increase their infection control awareness. This entire outbreak has been one giant example of what happens when proper infection control precautions are not being put into place or used, other examples include the outbreak of the Swine Flu a few years ago, the Dengue Fever outbreak in Pakistan in 2011, the Cholera outbreak in Haiti in 2011, and so many other instances in history. When someone gets sick especially with a disease this contagious proper precautions have to be followed, whether you’re in healthcare or you are just part of the general populace.
Fore complete and accurate information on Ebola, that is not being sensationalized by the media, or falsified to sell a story you can visit the Centers for Disease Control’s official website, the following links lead to useful facts and information.