There is a disease that doctors estimate will kill 585,720 Americans this year. Symptoms include pain, hemorrhaging, extreme fatigue, fever, sore throat, as well as many more. The effects of this disease are not pretty and many with it suffer greatly. There is no cure and sometimes, even those who go to great strides to prevent it, catch it anyway. Though the death toll will be over 584,000 more than another devastating disease the world is experiencing right now, alarmist articles fill our inboxes, nightly television news and social media feeds. The disease I am referring to is not Ebola, but cancer. However, the world has somehow become terribly frightened of the spread of Ebola; experts and doctors are trying to quell those fears. After nationwide coverage of an infected doctor transported from Africa to Atlanta, Georgia for treatment—it seems this question is on everyone’s mind, “Will America get Ebola?”
The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the worst in history. Believed to have started in December 2013, over 1,800 people are infected. Half of them have died. It most likely started from humans handling dead animals infected with the virus. Ebola is passed from animals to people through blood and other bodily secretions from infected animals, such as monkeys, fruit bats, antelopes and gorillas. Then those infected pass on the disease through direct contact with bodily secretions or blood of another person or from indirect contact with items such as contaminated syringes. You don’t catch Ebola as you do the flu or a cold and disease experts say it is very unlikely you would get Ebola from being on the same airplane with a person who is infected.
The disease has an incubation period of two to 21 days with a sudden onset of symptoms including fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat—followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and internal and external bleeding. Ebola is not contagious until someone is symptomatic. There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola and 90 percent of people infected will die from it.
Will Ebola Come to America?
Doctors and experts on the spread of disease say without a doubt Ebola will come to America. Because it can take up to 21 days for symptoms to show, one can travel overseas, catch Ebola and return home without ever feeling ill. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 72,934,917 people flew around the world in 2014. If you take just one percent of those who travelled while carrying Ebola that is 729,349 people who could potentially spread the disease. Whoa. That’s a scary number. But don’t let the potential freak you out. The CDC and American doctors feel confident they could easily contain any Ebola that reaches American soil.
Why You Need not Worry
Different Funeral Customs
Experts report the likeliest cause of the widespread outbreak is due to traditional local and regional death rituals. After someone dies, family members cleanse the body. Doctors say that the most contagious Ebola patient is one who has just passed. Since our culture is to let healthcare professionals prep the body after death, the spread of Ebola through touching and kissing a dead family member is highly unlikely.
Better Health Care
Usually outbreaks of Ebola occur in remote areas in Africa. If healthcare is available, it is unprepared to care for Ebola patients. Health centers do not have access to equipment, money, or resources to properly care for patients safely.
In the United States, we have a standard of healthcare codes, while many remote regions in Africa do not. In places where Ebola has ravaged countries, proper protective gear is not available, nor is healthcare practices as sanitary as they are in America.
We Have Done it Before
From 2003 to 2004, a global pandemic of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) infected more than 8,000 people and killed over 800.What didn’t make headlines were the stories about the CDC bringing SARS patients back to the United States who had fallen sick overseas. These patients were isolated and treated without incident.
The CDC, American doctors and other healthcare providers have a solid plan in dealing with Ebola. They will isolate and care for the patient immediately. If a patient walks in a doctor’s office or hospital with similar symptoms and express they have traveled, healthcare workers are trained on how to handle the situation. In fact, after returning from Africa at least six people in the United States have been tested for Ebola after falling ill. All of them tested negative. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are all screening passengers before they board airplanes. Further, knowing how Ebola spreads will help those of us in America and traveling abroad to avoid contact with people who could possibly be infected.
How to Prep for Ebola
Prepping for Ebola is no different than preparing for any other potential pandemic or bug-in situation. Have plenty of fresh drinking water, food, medicine, entertainment, and sanitation necessities for at least one week for your family. If you are a prepper, you probably already have an abundance of these things. A few years ago, North Texas experienced a bad outbreak of the swine flu. Many people missed work, production went down, public transportation and sanitation departments felt the loss of employment, and schools were closed. During that time, those of us who stayed well, stocked up on masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and household bleach—just in case. As a precaution, add the following to your preps:
- Garbage bags
- Flu medicine, pain medication, and cough drops
- Hand sanitizer
- Gas masks
- Plastic gloves
- Plastic sheeting or tarps
- Duct tape
- Shower caps
I understand why people are frightened. We do not know much about Ebola or had exposure to it and symptoms are truly horrifying. However, there is no reason to panic. For more on prepping for a pandemic, click here.
Are you afraid of a pandemic? If so, what are you doing to prepare? Tell us in the comment section.