The Facts on Ebola in the U.S. and “Fear-bola”

Health Workers wheel a stretcher into a hospital. (Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com)

by Margaret Okakpu

There is a public fear of a potential Ebola outbreak in the United States. According to a CNN article, this fear we have is an “overreaction” occurring in America, known to some as “Fear-bola.”

The countries in West Africa experiencing an Ebola outbreak include Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nigeria had only 20 cases of Ebola and was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.

That did not stop Navarro College, a two-year institution in Dallas, Texas, from sending out letters of rejection to some students applying from Nigeria.

The college responded to the outrage that ensued by calling it “the responsible thing to do.”

According to News Channel 8, the Governor of Conn. declared a state of emergency over Ebola in early Oct. and gave the commissioner of the state and Department of Public Health the authority to quarantine and isolate people who are believed to have been exposed to the Ebola virus.

In Milford, Conn., a third grade student was banned from returning to school after going to Nigeria with her father. Despite this, the family was not under the mandatory state quarantine or confined to their home.

However, the superintendent of schools told the parents that if their daughter did try to return to the school, “she would order her to be removed from the school by police.” The family has since filed a lawsuit against the city.

A middle school principal from Hazelhurst, Miss., attended her brother’s funeral in Zambia, which has no reported cases of Ebola, and was put on a week-long paid vacation after returning because student’s parents began to pull their children out of school after hearing about the trip.

There were 8 Ebola cases in America and all the patients were either infected in West Africa, or came in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first to be diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. when he had returned from Liberia.

While Duncan was the only patient to die from Ebola in the country, all other cases have been cleared with the remaining patient, Dr. Craig Spencer, being released from Bellevue Hospital in New York City on Tues.

While America is currently clear of Ebola cases, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, stresses that as long as there is an Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the rest of the world is at risk to have more cases.