Despite the media furor surrounding the outbreak of Ebola virus in Africa – and despite the repeated testing throughout the United States and Europe of travelers arriving from Africa – worries about an Ebola outbreak in America are wildly overblown. They’re overblown not because Ebola isn’t dangerous: it’s highly dangerous once acquired, and is passed on through bodily fluids. They’re overblown, instead, for the following reasons:
We Have Sewage Systems. Many countries in Africa are rife with open sewage in public areas. This means that Ebola virus, which can be transmitted via feces, will reach more people than it would in the United States, where public sewage systems kill whatever is in them. According to an April report in The New Republic Liberia, based in the capital of Monrovia:
As a city grappling with surge in population of over one million people, it is also seriously overwhelmed with the problem of stuffy, clogged and leaking sewage lines…. oozing tons of feces is causing unbearable pollution to communities to the displeasure of residents, who largely contribute to the wastage.
We Don’t Toss Bodies in Public Waters or The Streets. As the Washington Post pointed out, Reuters reported on August 3 that two men who died of Ebola virus were left to rot in the streets of Monrovia for “four days before being collected by health workers.” Another report from Front Page Africa stated that “two objects in the shape of body bags white in color” floated in a public lake. That same report stated that three bodies were left in a private home for three days, and that another body had been abandoned in Gardnersville for five days. Families were reportedly refusing to release the bodies to the authorities. Liberia’s president lamented, “There are dead bodies all over the place and they now know that it’s real.”
We Think Disease Is a More Likely Explanation Than Witchcraft for Ebola. The UK Telegraph noted that a British doctor had reported that in Sierra Leone:
There is a section of population here who simply don’t believe Ebola is real, they think it is witchcraft and so they don’t come to the treatment centres. “Sometimes, even those who turn up at clinics with symptoms of the disease will be resistant to the idea that they have it. They will say ‘yes, people in my family have died already, but this is witchcraft rather than Ebola’.”
We Use Hospitals. The Post pointed out, “Liberians remain deeply distrustful of Western medicine, and don’t want to go to the hospital if they start feeling unwell.” Some Liberians have refused medical aid. One doctor reported to the BBC that Liberians were refusing isolation, and that staff were refusing to work in isolation units. Because of those people refusing isolation, if they die, they are more likely to pass on the disease to others. As Albert J. Mattia, who runs the body-burying team in Kenema, Sierra Leone, told the New York Times, “People don’t die here now. They are dying in the community, five, six a day.”
We Do Not Dump Ebola In Wells. According to the Liberian Observer, some in New Georgia are accusing criminals of dumping Ebola-ridden corpses in the water supply. One person, Franklin Friday, “reported that at about 4 a.m. Monday, August 4, they saw two gigantic individuals (unknown), armed with guns, using a medical syringe and attempting to drop a liquid substance into the well that is being used by thousands of homes in the area.”
In other words, even should Ebola reach our shores, the possibility of a widespread outbreak will be extraordinarily low. Transmission of Ebola is not simple. Remember, Ebola has killed just over 1,000 people in West Africa; in 2012, some 627,000 people died of Malaria, 90 percent of those in Africa.
We’ll be okay. Just remember to keep flushing the toilet.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book,The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org.Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.