Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Psychological Effect of Ebola

By now everyone has heard of Ebola, a nasty and deadly disease that has taken the lives of thousands of people in West Africa. It is a horrible disease and it has come to the United States.

I am sure you all know that Ebola came to the U.S. by a man from Liberia who has since died. Two nurses that treated this man have been confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus. Thus far and to the best of my ability I have only been able to confirm 8 cases of Ebola in the U.S.

In Africa there have been 8,997 confirmed cases of Ebola, 4,493 of those have died. That is a terrible number. Basically 50% of confirmed cases have died. According to the BBC, the number of deaths would really be closer to 12,000. We know the actual number of deaths is much higher than the official number because in Liberia there are more confirmed deaths than confirmed cases (at least they are not just adding confirmed deaths in so the whole world can see there is a problem).

There has been a lot written on this disease so I am going to take this  in a different direction.

Here is what we know.

Somewhere between 50 and 90% of the people who contract this disease die. There are people who survive even without the best medical care money can provide. This disease is very painful and very disturbing. Vomiting and bloody diarrhea are reported in every case. Bloody fluids leak out of every opening. If a person survives they are likely to have terrible scarring. Like I said, bad deal.

Ebola is easier to contract than we were first told. The first article I read about Ebola made it sound like you almost had to finger paint with an infected person's blood, saliva, or feces to be infected (sorry for the visual). This turns out not to be the case. Ebola, much like the flu, can live outside the body on hard surfaces for up to 21 days. Ebola is not airborne (kinda). There is a difference in definitions here.

Airborne disease- any disease that is caused by pathogens and transmitted through the air. Such diseases include many that are of considerable importance both in human and veterinary medicine.

This is technically true. The disease cannot be spread by just air, but it can be spread by vapor also called droplets. What are droplets? You know the stuff that flies out of your mouth and nose when you sneeze? Those are droplets. Droplets become airborne for shot distances every time a person sneezes or coughs. Most of these droplets only go a short distance, say up to 6 feet but longer distances have occurred.

The officials have lied to us.

This section could almost be called We Can't Handle The Truth

Just from the above facts that have recently come to light we know that we have not been given full disclosure and with the director of the CDC trying to blame the nurse who contracted Ebola for traveling only to have someone say "She called and asked about traveling and was given the green light." ,one begins to question the honesty of many of our leaders.

Now to the part I really want to talk about. 

How is all of this affecting the general tone of the nation?

This "crisis" has reaffirmed something for me. It takes all kinds. When it comes to Ebola there are really only 4 types of people with 1000's of shades between. There are the folks that think this is just a bunch of garbage (I was one of these at first), there are the ones who are ready to lock themselves in their house for 21 days just to be sure, there are the ones that unless it is talked about during their favorite sporting event have no idea what is going on. No doubt you know someone who falls solidly in one of those categories. Then there is the rest of us. We are trying to get as much information as possible while going on with our everyday lives.


It doesn't really matter which group you fall into this disease could affect you. Here is what I mean. We have had 8 confirmed cases in the US, with now hundreds of people under observation and already there are companies advertising Ebola supplies. If a single person on the flight from Cleveland to Dallas contracts Ebola you can expect all of the airlines to suffer. People will refuse to fly.In fact that is already occurring. All of public transportation will suffer. Buses, ships, planes, passenger trains everything. Fear paralyzes people.

Herbal and Alternative Medicine

Sales and prices of colloidal silver have gone up big time as have sales of essential oils. I am all for herbal remedies and I think there is probably an herbal treatment for this disease, I don't know what it is but I am convinced that God provided a cure for everything in nature.

The FDA has actually sent threats to  bloggers and essential oil companies warning them not to give medical advice and not to suggest that herbals can treat anything because that would make it medicine. Sorry FDA. I respectfully disagree, you are owned by the pharmaceutical companies anyway.

Calls for Flight Bans

This one I understand the thought process behind. There are quite a few politicians calling for a flight ban from all infected countries. At first glance this sounds like a good idea. Just stop everyone from coming here from Sierra Leone and Liberia and any other country where the disease is spreading. The trouble is the disease is spreading to other countries. If we begin to systematically close our boarders to countries that have the disease this number will be steadily increasing. Every time we shut off a country it will affect our economy (it's hurting enough on it's own). I know, I know. Better safe than sorry. It is yet to be seen what we are going to do about travel. In many cases over reaction is as bad as not reacting at all.

The Media Doesn't Tell Us the Truth

I am a bit of a news geek. On my Twitter I have news agencies from every continent that I scan through. Other countries reported the death of the first Ebola patient a day before a single US news outlet did. I came home and told my wife the guy had died and she said that the news said he was in intensive care. The foreign news was right. Why? I don't know. The effect of both the CDC and the news outlets not telling us the truth are that people are not trusting what they have to say. These organizations had a credibility issue before this started and now it is even worse. I realize that the traditional news sources are struggling to get our attention, but sensationalizing or down right minimizing a situation is not the way to regain relevance.

Another thing is we only hear the bad. Out of the 8 confirmed cases 5 have recovered, 2 are in treatment, and 1 has died. That is a much better survival rate than the 60 to 70 % fatality rate that is being reported world wide. We have better medical facilities and nutrition. 


One thing is certain; everyone who halfway pays attention is talking about Ebola. I have multiple conversations everyday about it. There are some who claim all they want to do is stay home with their families. If you are independently wealthy that might be an option. If you are like the rest of us you do not have that option until it is absolutely necessary. I have already pointed out that sales of colloidal silver and essential oils have increased since the news of U.S. cases hit. Something you might not realize is sales of Tyvek suits, goggles and surgical masks have also increased. I have talked to several people who are trying to develop a plan to deal with this situation. That is great, but do not try to plan out of fear. Learn all you can. Research as much as possible. I don't think it is a bad idea to have some of the above items around. Construction workers and painters use them fairly often. If things get bad you can bet that I will be sporting these.  

I want you to be prepared. I want you to be safe. I just do not want you to be gripped by fear. The truth is there is not much we can do for now except be as healthy as possible, learn as much as we can, be as clean as we can, and go on with our lives.

I would love to hear your take. What do you think about the Ebola scare? What is your plan if things get bad? Nasty comments will be deleted, if any occur. This is my opinion, I believe it is well reasoned and balance. You can disagree with me all you want as long as you are respectful. I promise I will be respectful of you. 

Do not let fear rule you. Be smart, be aware but keep working toward your
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

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