How Much Should We Worry about an Ebola Outbreak in the US?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the spread of Ebola in the affected African countries is due to a lack of medical professionals, treatment facilities, and supplies. In addition, not enough people in these countries understand how the disease is spread and how to keep it from spreading to others.
The CDC is trying to make sure that people who appear sick do not get on a plane to come to the US. They are also screening people arriving from countries known to have Ebola. Finally, even if someone does develop Ebola after returning to the US, our public health system has a strong ability to track people and their contacts. Our health care system has plenty of supplies, medicines, doctors, and nurses with the know-how to treat and stop it from spreading.
All of this means that an Ebola epidemic in the US is very unlikely. It is important to remember that we are all more likely to be affected or die from flu—36,000 people die from flu every year in the US. Flu shots are now available, and we all need to get our flu shots soon. Washing our hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub; avoiding touching our eyes, nose, or mouth; covering our coughs with tissue or sneezing into our elbow instead of our hands; staying away from sick people; and staying away from others when we are sick also reduces the spread of all infectious diseases.
The Centers for Disease Control will continue to post up-dates at www.cdc.gov .