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There are a lot of myths surrounding this latest ebola outbreak, and in some cases it’s easier to stay ignorant of the truth. The fact is that this is a contagious, deadly disease without a cure, and it’s currently spreading. How much do you know about ebola, and is it enough to keep you safe in a worst case scenario?

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Myth: Ebola Can’t Be Spread Through The Air

Truth: While the disease itself can’t live suspended in nothing but air, coughing or sneezing into another person’s face can absolutely spread ebola. That’s why all of the aid workers and doctors are wearing masks and protective gear.

 

Myth: The Outbreak Is Completely Contained

Truth: There has never been another ebola outbreak of this scale in the world before. Doctors are trying their best, but in many cases they’re completely unprepared for an outbreak of this size. There is no guarantee of containment, and it’s possible for ebola to spread anywhere infected people travel.

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Myth: Government Scientists Know Everything About Ebola

Truth: Ebola is a rare disease that has only been studied in any detail since the 1980s. While it was discovered earlier, cases of ebola were so rare that barely anyone had first-hand knowledge of the disease. In fact, until the 1990s, doctors still had no idea that bats were the likely carrier of ebola. All of the facts aren’t known yet.

 

Myth: The Containment Procedures In Place Will Protect You

Truth: No containment is perfect, and doctors are still learning more information about the disease even as it spreads. For instance, until mid-October many doctors thought that the incubation period lasted a maximum of 21 days. Now there is evidence that, in some cases, it can take nearly a week longer to confirm whether or not a patient has the disease. That may mean that containment procedures have already failed in the past because the aid workers weren’t waiting long enough after exposure to confirm or deny illness.

 

Myth: Hospital Workers Are Trained To Deal With The Disease

Truth: Very, very few hospital workers, in America or overseas, have direct training in how to deal with ebola. Fortunately viral containment protocols all have quite a bit in common, but when you are dealing with a disease that has a 50% mortality rate it’s hard to rely on healthcare workers who haven’t been properly trained.

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Myth: There Are Effective Treatments For Ebola

Truth: There are only a few experimental treatments for ebola, and most doctors can only make the infected victims comfortable and keep them stable. There is currently no approved medication which fights ebola, and none on the horizon. The best that aid workers can do is try to isolate the infected, give them fluids, and take care of them as they either fight off the infection or succumb to it.