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Ebola Outbreak: 10 Common Misconceptions

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been dominating the news over the last couple of months. Some worst-case projections say the outbreak could claim more than 1 million people’s lives over the next 4 months if they aren’t able to better contain the disease. But while the virus is devastating and the United Nations and several countries have stepped in to help, there are a lot of misconceptions about Ebola – how it spreads, the symptoms, risks and prevention, and what it would mean if it came to North America.

Remember, myths and misconceptions can fuel hysteria, so read these top ten misconceptions about the Ebola outbreak – you’ll be better informed and many of your worries will be put to rest…

1. Ebola Is An Airborne Virus

How people contract the Ebola virus is commonly misunderstood, and one of the main misconceptions is that it’s an airborne virus – that you can catch it just by breathing the air in the vicinity where someone is infected. There has been some slight hysteria about people on airplanes spreading the virus through the air. But this isn’t true. According to the World Health Organization, you can only contract it through direct contact with infected blood and other body fluids, and tissues of infected animals or people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that in Africa, Ebola could be spread when handling meat from wild animals hunted for food and infected bats. In North America, this is not considered to be a way it is transmitted. So erase the common fear that it’s an airborne virus, and you will not get sick by simply being in the same room as someone with the Ebola virus.

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