Ebola: Do You Have It? (Probably Not)



Ebola. That’s the term that we’ve been hearing around lately. It has everyone across America worried and in a state of panic, but what actually is it, and is it really as big as the media are portraying it?

Ebola is a virus that causes a fatal disease in humans and some animals. It is spread by directly touching an infected person’s broken skin, blood or bodily fluids. The virus can survive on surfaces for a short amount of time. Touching objects like needles or bed sheets that contain the infected fluids can result in a person obtaining the virus.

In September, the first case in the United States was found in Texas, when a patient brought Ebola back from West Africa, where the outbreak continues to occur.

With all of the hype that the media are making about Ebola, one would have thought that there was a huge outbreak in our country as well. As college students, we are not always in the healthiest state due to stress, lack of sleep, or poor eating habits, and with this new disease, the students at Manhattan College have been worrying that they may contract it.

When asked what she thought about Ebola in this country, based on the news, a freshman, Erin Mumby said, “I understand that Ebola is a very serious threat, but I think the media definitely sensationalizes how Ebola will spread in the US.”

As of Oct. 21 there were only eight cases of Ebola in the United States, and only one of those people died. The other seven either recovered or are currently recovering.

As of Oct. 23, the ninth case came to New York City. With our school being situated in the city, this is something to be cautious of, but nothing to freak out about. I think that the media present Ebola in such a way that makes it seem that since Ebola has come to New York City, we are all going to get it. This is not the case.

The doctor who has tested positive for the virus in New York City came in contact with the fluids of an infected person in Guinea. The only way that we can possibly contract it is if we come in contact with his infected fluids, which is very unlikely.

I think that as a school community we need to stay calm and not let the media corrupt our minds. If you think about it, the media are what foster our fears, because they make a big deal out of even the smallest current events. There are millions of small diseases that are spread everyday, and the only way we ever know about the extent to which how bad they are is through the media.

“I think that Ebola is a very big deal, but the chances of catching it are very rare because only one person is infected, and he is isolated in the hospital from the rest of us,” a freshman, Kaelin McHale, said.

On Oct. 24, the Manhattan College community received a public safety email advising us all not to worry. Hopefully this will help ease our fears about Ebola that the media have instilled in us.