In case you haven’t heard, the Ebola virus — the same one that gave readers the willies in the 1994 book The Hot Zone — is now out of control, and spreading rapidly, in West Africa.
Ebola kills you in horrible ways, and there isn’t any cure. If you catch it, you will almost certainly die of it. It is also very, very contagious.
The CDC says not to worry, according to NBC:
But it’s unlikely to come as far as the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
“Ebola poses little risk to the U.S. general population,” Stephan Monroe of CDC’s National Center for Emerging & Zoonotic Infectious Diseases told reporters in a conference call. It’s because you have to be in direct contact with someone who is ill to become infected.
“Transmission is through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person,” Monroe said. That includes vomit, blood or diarrhea. “Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious,” he said.
The incubation period can last for as long as 21 days, meaning it can take 21 days for someone to develop symptoms after being in contact with an infected person. So in theory, someone could be infected and get on a plane to travel to the U.S. before he or she got sick. But the odds of this are low.
So: rest easy. After all, our borders are secure.