The Domestic Issue of Ebola

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

Emma Hoover '17, Staff Writer

The recent outbreak of Ebola caught the attention of millions throughout the world. Ebola, first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced sporadic outbreaks that have developed in several other African countries over the years. The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever, which affects blood vessels and organs. There is an extremely high death rate associated with the disease. The most recent outbreak of Ebola has affected many Western African countries, namely Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The disease first appeared in the United States in October 23, 2014 when a Ebola case was reported from a doctor, who was returning to New York City after performing service work in Guinea. The real scare came when a man who had traveled from Liberia to Dallas, Texas also became ill. Mr. Duncan came to the emergency room and was told to go home because he showed no symptoms. A few days later this patient became violently ill and returned to the emergency room.  Upon his return, he was diagnosed with Ebola. Unfortunately during this short time period he had come in contact with multiple people, including two nurses that were tending to him that also became infected with the disease. The United States was on edge to see if there would be more cases. Fortunately all of the patients diagnosed with Ebola in the United States survived except for Mr. Duncan. He passed away on October 8, 2014. No other cases have been reported in the USA to this date.

Ebola sparked a social media frenzy with many people tweeting about Ebola and posting their opinions online. After the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States, tweets about the disease increased from 100 per minute to 6,000 a minute. The problem arose when people feared becoming infected with Ebola and started tweeting false information causing the irrational information to spread. In the United States currently there are no reported cases of Ebola, the Western African countries are not as fortunate, Sierra Leone has the highest rate of Ebola cases to date with 7,897 cases. Since no further cases have been reported in the United States, media coverage has declined. But, the Ebola epidemic is still not over, with many people still suffering from it in West African countries.