By 9:07 PM

Ebola is out of control. And no, by that I don't mean that it's going to infect you because it's not. 

The ebola I'm referring to is the one the media has decided to hype up for the past couple of weeks. That ebola is different then the true ebola, that we might as well call it "mebola" = media ebola. 

I am flabbergasted at the mebola coverage. For starters, its creating unnecessary fear. No, you will not get ebola. Believe it or not, ebola is actually easy to contain with proper equipment.

The reason it spread so quickly in West Africa was because:

  1. the symptoms (fever, nauseous, vomiting, diarrhea to name a few) are so generic to other illnesses that people initially didn't realize it was ebola.
  2. the facilities, like in most rural areas in West Africa, do not have proper equipment or space to house all ebola patients. Dr. William Fischer, II, who recently spoke at a Fast-a-thon in my school about his travels to Guinea to help treat ebola patients, said there were hospitals he went to where patients were literally lying outside. At other hospitals he came saw pools of blood which had been there for 3 days. 
  3. there aren't enough trained healthcare workers 
  4. there is a lack of education about the disease and how to treat it
  5. according to Dr. Fischer another reason is the mistrust between the locals and the government. 
An interesting point Dr. Fischer made during his presentation was that the patients he saw were not coughing up blood or ill-looking. Contrary to the images that the media has presented, these patients looked just like you and me normally do, properly groomed or not. 

The worst symptom that Dr. Fischer saw was the diarrhea. I know, not something you want to discuss at the dinner table, but even the bloody diarrhea is not as common as the media makes it out to be. As Dr. Fischer said in his blog, "Hemorrhagic complications occur only 50-60% of the time and many of them are mild (bloody diarrhea and hematemesis [vomiting of blood]). It is different than what the movies and books have projected although I suspect that early descriptions came from end stage cases that received little care."

Furthermore, ebola is only contagious if you come into direct contact with an infected person's secretions such as blood, organs or other bodily fluids. It's also only contagious once the person starts to show symptoms. So unless you go kissing someone with ebola, touching a bloody pillowcase, share a needle or do something along those lines, you will not get ebola from breathing the same air. Chill. Especially you Gov. Christie

Unfortunately, there is no cure, as of now, for ebola. I am sure they are working on one, but with proper containment, we have nothing to worry about. Especially here in America. 

Also, it is important to highlight the work of the health workers, whether they are locals in West Africa or ones traveling from America. What they are doing is incredibly courageous. 
Image from:

So what can we do? First, put your fears to rest because there is no way that you will contract ebola. Secondly, you can start educating other people with the truth behind ebola and hush those media outlets. Yes I love the media, I am a journalist after all, but sometimes they think like this: <ratings. You can also join the ebola grand challenge and help come up with better suit designs for health workers. The suits that they currently have to wear can get very hot. You can find more information here. FYI: this is not acceptable. 

Lastly, according to the World Health Organization, it was through fruit bats that ebola originated. Then humans got it from direct contact with animals such as chimpanzees, monkeys and antelopes. Isn't there something fishy about most of our health outbreaks occurring from some form of contact with animals? Just think about that. 

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