Ebola Outbreak: What Do You Tell Friends?
most recent Ebola Virus outbreak has made the national news. This
highly contagious virus of the family Filoviridae,
genus Ebolavirus causes a hemorrhagic illness that approaches 90 percent mortality.
This latest episode
in West Africa has claimed
the lives of over 600 people, but has made the news largely because it is the worst-ever
outbreak in history and two Americans have been infected.
been asking me: What is Ebola exactly? Why is it so deadly? How is it spread?
Are we at risk here in the USA?
While not an
expert in virology or epidemiology, I take that imposed educational role seriously. I
keep up to date as a scientist, interested in disease and health. I give basic,
factual information when asked and then refer friends to credible sources like the CDC
website. I also vet popular news sites and endorse links that give current updates, explain Ebola, summarize aspects of epidemiology, and discuss risk in a sober yet non-alarmist way.
curious: what role do you think medical laboratorians should play in educating
friends and family? What do you do? Are
you less interested if the “disease du jour” is affecting only unknown people
from faraway places and poses little risk to the US?