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Ebola: Do you have it?

October 16, 2014

 

Jared King
Sports Editor

KING

KING

 

Have you coughed this week? Had a headache? Been nauseous? If so, you might have Ebola. At least, that is what the media would have you believe.

 

While I am certainly not attempting to make light of the deaths of more than 4,000 people who have died during the Ebola outbreak, the truth is this: you are not going to “catch” Ebola.

 

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died last week. Since then, two Dallas health care workers Nina Pham and another who has yet to be named have both been diagnosed with the Ebola virus.

 

Duncan became infected while in Liberia – a country known to be part of the infected area including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa.

 

When Duncan was first admitted to the hospital in Dallas malaria, gastroenteritis, influenza and Ebola were among the possible diagnoses, according to an article published by The Associated Press.

 

While Duncan had been in a country directly infected by the disease and Pham had been in close contact with Duncan, who was directly infected with the disease, something tells me you have not and will not and are, therefore, safe.

 

You see, contrary to popular belief, Ebola is not spread through the air. The Ebola virus is transmitted in the bodily fluids of people who are seriously ill. Those infected are likely to be vomiting, bleeding or have diarrhea – someone you would probably be trying to avoid anyway.

 

There has been fear of someone “catching” Ebola without knowing it because it can take 21 days for the infected person to show symptoms.

 

This is only somewhat true. It can take between two and 21 days for symptoms to show, although usually it is five to seven days. Typically, the first signs are a fever involving a headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat and muscle weakness.

 

Do not start making appointments with your physician to be checked for Ebola just yet; remember this: you have to have made contact with the bodily fluids of an Ebola patient or victim in order to contract the virus and, chances are, you have not.

 

So while the media continues to sensationalize the Ebola outbreak in an attempt to educate the citizens of the U.S. about the deadly disease, remember you are not going to simply “catch” Ebola. It is not airborne. You will not turn into a zombie.

 

Jared King is a senior journalism major from Jena who serves as sports editor for the Tech Talk.  Email comments to jki008@latech.edu.

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