Ebola virus has been making the rounds quite a bit. It seems that you can’t listen to the news without some piece about this infection. To be sure Ebola virus causes a very serious infection. Most people who contract this virus will die and there is known cure. Finally, the potential exists for many more infections.
However, let’s get real here. In the entire world there have been a little over 7,000 cases with about 4,000 deaths. Contrast this to some other much more common infections such as influenza which kills tens of thousand yearly in this country alone. How about measles, which although much less common is much more likely to spread? Ebola cannot be spread by air droplets, while measles easily can. What about MRSA drug resistant bacterial infections? Much more common and thousands die yearly from these infections. Malaria, although rare here, kills hundreds of thousands worldwide.
And of course smoking-not an infection but it causes over 300,000 deaths each year in this country. Obesity, with 70% of Americans being either overweight or obese contributes to many diseases and deaths. Driving causes over 30,000 yearly deaths. In other words driving your kids to school carries a much greater risk of death than you or your kids dying from Ebola virus. Not getting your yearly influenza vaccine will do the same. Over one billion worldwide suffer from hunger and millions will die from malnutrition each year. The list, as you see, goes on and on.
Why are we not hearing more about much greater risks to our health and well being? Well, simply put: talking about healthy diets or wearing seat belts doesn’t increase news ratings. Ebola virus, with its exotic name and location, does.
I am not advocating that research of Ebola virus should be swept under the carpet. It’s just once in awhile it would be nice to hear about health issues more pertinent to most of us.