Texas Ebola cases cause panic throughout U.S.

As of Oct. 20, the majority of people exposed to Thomas Eric Duncan have been released and taken off of a watch list for contracting the Ebola virus. Duncan passed away from complications due to Ebola on October 8.

From the beginning of his isolation on Sept. 28, 120 people in total were exposed to Duncan. An initial group of 43, including friends, family, and passerby in his life were those released most recently, with only a few left in the watch. Those remaining few are to be released on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

The 120 people still in observation include the medical staff who took care of Duncan initially in the ER, as well as others who administered regular care to him during his isolation. Of those, two nurses have been confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus and are currently isolated themselves.

Duncan, a native of Liberia where he likely contracted the virus, was remembered in a small church ceremony on Oct. 18. According to an article by People Magazine, Duncan is said to have helped a pregnant woman who had the virus herself.

Around 40 people met in the church where the ceremony was held, all of which were Duncan’s friends and family. He was said to always be of a friendly and helpful demeanor.

Upon his travelling to the United States after his stay in Liberia, he  initially lied about being exposed to someone with the disease.

This denial on Duncan’s part has caused the fallout we are still seeing today. Though Duncan had the best intentions with helping those in his native country, not admitting to his risk may have caused more deaths and a nationwide cause for concern.

Because the two newest known victims of Ebola are health care professionals themselves, many around the country have been wondering just how prepared doctors and nurses are to handle an emergency response to any potential Ebola patients.

Scott Dance of the Baltimore Sun reports that caregivers in Maryland are seeking further training and knowledge of the disease.

There is even considerations being made for a sort of buddy system that will have caregivers monitor one another as they put on protective gear.

The World Health Organization has raised concerns of their own. Based on the number of cases reported from the source of the outbreak in West Africa as well as the deaths caused to date, WHO has come forward with some alarming numbers concerning the virus.

WHO predicts that upwards of 10,000 new cases monthly could come into being and that the mortality rate of the virus could be upwards of 70 percent. Approximately 4,500 deaths have been caused by the virus to date with this most recent outbreak.

When asked how he feels about the situation as a whole, Rio Hondo student David Escobar said, “It is good that people take precautionary measures but at the same time the government has to maintain peace. It did get blown out of proportion when the news broke and people were scared it would spread across the country. However, now that I hear it’s been contained I feel there’s less risk. Still, it’s not good to think that it could never spread. It’s a good idea to keep our eyes and ears open and stay aware that it may still spread.”

With many people still quarantined and at risk, there is still much to be done in the United States in order to be properly prepared for any situation that may arise. It’s important to remember that Ebola is believed to be spread strictly by contact with bodily fluids of those already showing signs of the disease.

As of this writing, there is no evidence that Ebola is an airborne disease. As long as those who are being monitored are watched by caregivers who are well trained, no further cases of the virus should arise.