Ebola: The Risks for the United States
by Ricky Kellerman
The Ebola virus is becoming a major issue in the U.S., but what are the odds of you getting the virus? Should we be worried about an epidemic?
The Ebola virus first made contact with humans in Africa in 1976. Ever since then, there have been several counts of Ebola throughout West Africa, mainly the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. Just a few months ago, we came back into contact with Ebola and have brought some patients to America to be tested and treated. One case in particular, the man in Dallas, Texas from Liberia named Thomas Eric Duncan contracted the disease in Africa before flying back to the United States where we discovered he was showing signs of the infection.
The chart shows the average amount of people infected per year from a sample of different diseases. As you can see, Ebola is very low on the contagious list, infecting an average of two people a year in a non-quarantined situation. “R0” is a reproductive number or “R nought” which is a mathematical term that tells you how contagious an infectious disease is.
This data shows that we should be cautious in treating the disease but we shouldn’t be worried about contracting it if we use proper sanitation and keep the disease in a quarantined area out of the immediate vicinity of humans.
The epidemic is becoming very serious in West Africa, taking 70% of the population, but in the U.S., we haven’t had many recorded incidents of people becoming infected or coming in contact with Ebola. There is no reason to be worried of infection but we must be cautious in the ways that we go about our hygiene.