Before the Ebola outbreak this year, the majority of people living in the United States had no idea what Ebola was. I would have to admit that I too was one of those people. Instead of properly getting informed with facts from informational websites, I turned to the hysteria of the media coverage of the Ebola virus. I looked to Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth from my fellow colleagues.
CBS News reported that social media users took to Twitter and Facebook to share half-truths and rumors that spread faster than the virus itself across the United States. It is sad that we exist in a time where I feel like I don’t know what the truth is anymore unless I watch the news or read the newspaper. Even so, I often question how much of what I am reading or watching in the news is even true.
When the first case of Ebola was reported in the States, the media were the first to exploit the story as much as they could. The reports created a lot of fear and panic in the States because people were uninformed about the disease. With the help of websites like the World Health Organization, we can better inform ourselves on the facts and symptoms of Ebola.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus is not an airborne infection but is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The virus can be transmitted from direct contact with bodily fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola, objects contaminated with the virus, or infected animals. Moreover, it is only a speculation that the Ebola virus can mutate and spread among humans through the air.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) response efforts went overseas and helped stop the Ebola outbreak at its source. The CDC also did a great job at working with the media to inform and correct misinformation about the virus. This makes me reflect on how grateful I am to be in a country that is prompt in making sure that we are appropriately notified when the wrong information is presented. On the other hand, I do not understand why the media works hard at overexposing issues and misinterpreting facts that are untrue. Part of me believes that we live in a society where we, as humans, always want to be “in the know”, so we look for every possible outlet that will present us with some kind of information about the virus we know nothing about.
It is important to be well informed about the Ebola virus in the best way possible. There are so many websites that think they know what they’re talking about when it comes to Ebola outbreak. As the Ebola outbreak continues to rapidly evolve, there needs to be more done to implement protective and preventive measures about the virus. It is our job to look for informative websites about Ebola that are credible, factual and trustworthy.