Ebola virus kills U.S. citizen & here's why you should be scared

ebola_africa_2014Okay, I'm completely scared now. Health officials say that the possibility that the deadly ebola virus, which has claimed more than 600 victims in western Africa, comes to the U.S. are remote, but I feel like they really have to double check their information. Especially in light of the recent news that Patrick Sawyer, a Minnesota resident, has died of the feared disease during a trip to Nigeria. Imagine what could have happened had he returned home to the U.S. before exhibiting symptoms. Chilling.

Ebola is the worst virus that exists in the world today and there's a serious outbreak right now. The virus blocks the body's ability to coagulate blood and kills its victims of hemorrhages within 10 days. You have to find out how to protect yourself.

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Decontee Sawyer, the victim's wife, sums it up best: "He could have brought ebola with him. Anyone can bring ebola," she told media. All of us who think about that possibility understand where she's coming from. Sawyer leaves behind three daughters, but he could have brought that nightmare, which has Africa enveloped in fear right now, right to our doors.

Ebola is much, much worse than any flu virus that has alarmed us in the last few years. Less than 20 percent of people who get the deadly virus survive and it's a slow, horrible death. The U.S. government has already warned against traveling to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea because of the ebola outbreak. Health officials are also preparing a prevention campaign with print and audiovisual materials, as well as special medical training for doctors in areas where there are large concentrations of people from the countries that have been affected the most.

"The probability that this epidemic could spread outside of western Africa is very slim," CDC spokesperson Stephan Monroe assures us. But the situation "evolves rapidly" and the CDC has to be ready in case of the worst case scenario.

Although it's not easy to become infected, you have to be in actual contact with bodily fluids of someone who is sick (it's not a virus that survives outside of the body or can become airborne, like flu), the possibility is still frightening. Sawyer contracted the virus while he watched over his sister, who initially was thought to have a flu. The first symptoms are similar: chills, fatigue, body pains and fever. But what's most alarming about his case is that even with symptoms the allowed him to fly from Liberia to Nigeria.

I agree with Sawyer's wife that this epidemic is awful and I join my voice to hers in warning everyone to be much more vigilant with people that get on planes and who have been to any of those affected countries. Ebola symptoms take three weeks to manifest themselves--those weeks are when victims are most contagious. God protect us all!

Image via Corbis

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