Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses kill violently and painfully and, let’s face it, are truly frightening but while highly infectious, they are not highly contagious. When you add to the equation the fact that researchers know a great deal about them and the fact that they don’t spread anything like the common cold should provide some relief for the germaphobe, hypochondriac, or just someone who has little interest in bleeding out through their eyes.
Ebola is not terribly contagious
If you look at CNN’s work in keeping us up to date on the missing Malaysian Air flight for well over a month, it’s easy to see how Ebola has struck fear into millions of people. When you add the fact that Ebola caregivers and doctors are dying it builds up our culture of ignorance and gives new wings to fanciful flights of fiction. An Ebola patient on a planed will not spread Ebola with a sneeze. Although CNN notes:
Theoretically, there could be enough virus in sweat or saliva to pass on the virus through, say, an airplane armrest or a nearby sneeze, said Stephen Morse, an epidemiologist and virologist at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York. But droplets would still need a way to get through the skin.
Those at the highest risk of contraction of the virus are those that provide intensive care for sick patients and the mortuary preparation of those that have died from the disease.
It is for this reason, that two health workers which have contracted the virus recently are being flown to the United States. And this quite simply shouldn’t worry you. The two health workers will arrive in the States in the coming days and at least one of them will be cared for, assuming they survive the flight, at Emory University in Atlanta.
The plane bound for Africa took off from Cartersville Airport in Georgia, about an hour northwest of the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta. In theory, that airport given its Atlanta location could be used again. Alternatively, the CDC’s quarantine station in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on the south side of the city. Both of these airports would work for transporting those infected to Emory University, one of four isolation units specifically designed to deal with Ebola patients.
“Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient,” the statement said. “These procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year so we are fully prepared for this type of situation.”
Something to fear
If you need something to get hysterical about Ebola is not for you. Perhaps you should study up on Coronaviruses (like SARS) and influenzaviruses (like the H1N1 virus of 1918) which can truly blindside the planet with their global reach.