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One year after ‘Fearbola’ hysteria, what we’ve learned about dealing with epidemics?

| | October 7, 2015
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It’s been a year since peak “Fearbola” in the United States — the out-of-proportion panic at the possibility of Ebola cases in this country. At that time, the outbreak was increasing dramatically in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

Politicians and pundits called for the immediate cessation of flights from the affected countries in order to “keep America safe.” Even scientists joined the fear game, suggesting that Ebola might “go airborne.” Schools told children of workers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who had been deployed to Africa to stay home from school. Individuals who had spent time anywhere in Africa (eventhousands of miles from the outbreaks) were regarded with suspicion and ordered to self-quarantine. A poll of Americans in mid-October of 2014 showed that two-thirds were concerned about a widespread Ebola outbreak in the U.S.

A year later, none of the panicked predictions have come true. The outbreak has slowed significantly in West Africa. Fewer than 10 new cases per week have been reported since July 2015, and Liberia was declared Ebola-free in early September. The U.S. hasn’t seen an active Ebola case in more than five months, after 10 cases were treated in 2014. Only two of those were acquired in the U.S. The others were infected elsewhere, with all but one purposely brought to the U.S. for treatment. An additional patient was brought into the U.S. in March 2015 and released in April. He was the sole U.S. Ebola patient in 2015.

Read full, original post: America’s Ebola Panic

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