Awareness is good.

Being proactive is wise.

Being paranoid? That’s another story.

As this unprecedented Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa continues to expand, many people in North America have journeyed from ignoring it, to considering it a disease that you only get if you’re in Africa, to thinking they need for move to some remote island and live in a bio-bubble to avoid it.

With news reports of people being quarantined in North American hospitals because they returned from West Africa with a fever, and with a confirmed case in a person who travelled from Liberia to Dallas, some people are freaking out. Among the frequent alarmist responses is a demand for a full ban on any travel from West Africa (or even Africa as a whole, from people who don’t realize the distance from Liberia to South Africa is over 5000 km, similar to the distance from New York to Alaska).

With a virus that is relatively poorly transmissible and only transmitted when people are symptomatic, reasonable travel controls and attention by healthcare workers (a big "oops" occurred in Dallas in this case) should prevent this virus for establishing any kind of foothold in North America.

People need to put things in perspective. Most likely, there will be no locally transmitted North American Ebola deaths this year. At the same time, tens of thousands of people in North America will die from seasonal flu.

…I wonder how many of the people screaming for a lock-down on Africa got a flu shot last year.