Opinion Piece Asks If Americans Learned To Fear Ebola Less After West African Outbreak

STAT: What if we’re no longer afraid of Ebola?
Helen Branswell, senior writer at STAT

“…Why isn’t [the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] getting more attention? … I wonder if the West African outbreak taught citizens of the U.S. and other countries that typically help out in an Ebola outbreak a different lesson. Maybe the idea that eventually took root was that Ebola wasn’t the threat to us that we thought it was. … That definitely shouldn’t be the lesson anyone took from that horrible outbreak. What West Africa and northeastern DRC should teach us is that struggling states with weak health systems are fertile ground for hard-to-contain disease outbreaks that will be massively expensive to stop if they aren’t addressed quickly and aggressively. … But in the meantime I am left wondering if we have learned to fear this virus less. And in the process, if we have let Ebola drift toward the column of bad diseases — things like cholera and yellow fever, Guinea worm and malaria — that we’re not so concerned about. Sure, they sicken and kill lots of people. But they don’t do it here” (7/25).

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