Howell has no reason to fear an Ebola outbreak


Michael Gottschalk, Staff Writer

After visiting all of the High School’s three offices and questioning multiple 10-12th graders, the existence of the Movie Club has been confirmed. The club meets every Monday from 2:30-4:30 in Mr. Jason Kane’s room 1-19 at the Freshman Campus. There are no requirements to join this club.

The case in Dallas, Texas worries many people, but opinions differ on whether or not the disease could spread drastically in more modern countries with good medical care, such as the US.

Around Howell High School, there is a massive amount of attention given to the disease. It is harder and harder for me to walk around the halls each day without hearing a joke. Scrolling through my Twitter timeline, I notice meme after meme with the punchline focused on Ebola. I hear all about how the virus is “created by the government to distract us from Michelle Obama’s lunches.”

There are people in this town that are legitimately concerned about the disease wiping out the population. When the news broke in August that Americans who had transmitted Ebola were being brought back to the States, my little brother was terrified it would spread like wildfire and we would all be infected before September rolled around.

Though the disease is very deadly and spreads quickly, we have little to worry about. Here are some facts to know about Ebola:


The symptoms of Ebola include a fever greater than 38.6 C (101.5 F), a severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal (stomach) pain, and unexplainable hemorrhaging. Symptoms occur between 2 and 21 days after infection.


Scientists are unsure what carries it, but they think that it is carried by animals, such as bats. There are four separate viruses that cause Ebola and one other virus that causes it in primates. The viruses are found in Africa. The first reported case was in the Dominican Republic of the Congo in 1976. Outbreaks have been popping up every few years since.


Ebola is transmitted through the body fluids (urine, saliva, feces, vomit, semen, etc.) of infected people. It can only be spread after the infected person is showing symptoms.


Though there is not yet a vaccine, Ebola is relatively easy to avoid in countries where large outbreaks are not common. Some steps to avoid Ebola are:

1) wash hands with soap and water

2) avoid contact with blood/body fluids

3) do not use or handle materials used by infected people, such as needles, bedding and clothes.

4) stay away from bats and primates

Ebola is receiving massive amounts of media attention and there is confusion about whether or not the virus could spread in the United States. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has said on their website that, “Ebola is not spread through contact; therefore, the risk of an outbreak in the US is very low.”

Because of the superior medical technology and conditions, the chances of a major outbreak like the one seen in West Africa this year seem to be slim for more modern areas such as the United States.

So it seems we have little to worry about here in Howell. The chances of the disease spiraling out of control and infecting all of us are low.