Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Ebola demystified by faculty

Photo courtesy of Center for Disease Control

Posted on October 27, 2014 in News, Uncategorized
By Brian Gordon

Are you afraid of big bad Ebola? Should you be worried about a campus wide outbreak? Teachers gave a resounding no.

There have been over 4,500 deaths from Ebola in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In America there have been four confirmed cases, three in Dallas, and one recently occurring in New York. One man has died from Ebola in America.

Professor Lisa Moore and Professor Rachel Larsen are microbiologists who teach one of the science labs that nursing students take. They said that basic cleanliness can help prevent the spread.

“Just really careful sterile technique is going to go a long way to preventing the spread of Ebola. And quarantine would also be important” Dr. Moore said. The two professors teach the science behind why you need to be covered and wear gloves when dealing with infectious disease.

They said students shouldn’t worry about Ebola. “Ebola is in your blood. It is not airborne. It’s less transmissible than the flu,” Moore said.

Larsen backed her up.

“The flu is worse as far as being passed from person to person, because it’s airborne and can be passed by a sneeze even twenty feet away,” said Larsen. “Ebola is less worrisome [to catch] because you have to directly touch bodily fluids of a person.”

“I think for the average student walking around campus your chances of getting it are .0000 – I mean, really low,” Larsen said.

Students are aware of all the hype around Ebola. Max Feigenbaum, a sophomore biology major, said, “I think it’s pretty ridiculous. Four people? Four Americans have been infected by Ebola and everybody goes nuts, but thousands of people die from the flu and nobody will get a shot.”

Feigenbaum recognized the media has been playing up the danger of Ebola to get ratings.

“That’s the messed up thing. I am worried,” said Feigenbaum. “I’m aware of what’s happening [with the media] and I’m critical of it, but I still worry about Ebola.”

While Feigenbaum was critical of the media and the government’s handling of the outbreak, he acknowledged we are much more equipped to handle this than Liberia. “I trust my doctors. Wash your hands and don’t drink people’s blood,” he offered as advice.

Other students weren’t as trusting. Crystal Palmer, a senior political science major, said, “I have issues with the planes not being kept at bay, with people from infected countries. I have no faith in our U.S. government.”

“I think the media has had a big hand in blowing it out of proportion and hyping up all of America. It’s gone overboard,” said Palmer. “Super overboard.”

Dr. Bill Thornton from the psychology department said that the media is just doing their jobs; we’re the ones who take it and run with it.

“People see connections even when they don’t exist. In order to be able to understand the world and predict things. That might further contribute to hysteria,” Thornton said.

“It’s a behavior contagion,” said Thornton. “It’s contagious behavior.”

As for those on the future front lines of the Ebola epidemic, the nursing students on campus are in good hands. They are receiving the training they need to treat and contain an infectious disease according to professor Maricia Goldenberg who teaches a community health course.

“Do not panic,” said Goldenberg. “Do not be hysterical. And if you’re going to worry, worry about the people in West Africa and that’s where your attention should be.”

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