By Derek Nesbitt
The Lansing Star
LANSING — Although the Ebola virus has reached the United States with a case in Texas, an Ingham County Health Department health officer says Lansing-area people shouldn’t be too concerned.
“It’s not like the whole city needs to get upset and worried. If you’re not in contact with that person and in close contact with that person then everybody is fine,” Health Officer Linda Vail said. “The exposure to Ebola is something that requires fairly intense contact to even be a risk factor.”
Ebola is a fatal disease marked by fever and internal bleeding that’s transmitted through blood or body fluids by open or infected wounds. More than 3,400 people have died from Ebola in West Africa, leaving over 3,700 children without at least one parent.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil died Oct. 8 in a Texas hospital after contracting the virus in West Africa by assisting a woman exposed to the virus to the hospital via cab.
Vail stated that Ebola is not as easily contracted from person to person as people think.
“I couldn’t cough from here to there and you would get Ebola. Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with blood or other body fluids to an open wound or to your mucus membranes,” Vail said.
Vail said if a Lansing resident got infected and exposed to Ebola, they would be isolated, and everyone who had been in contact with the victim would be quarantined, because they have potentially been exposed to the virus.
Typical prevention procedures should be taken at all times such as washing hands, covering coughs, and staying home while sick to prevent any virus or illness and not just Ebola, according to Vail.
Along with Vail, 23-year-old Taylor Deshaw, a nursing student at Lansing Community College, also said that basic prevention procedures should be taken in hopes of steering clear of Ebola if the virus made way to Lansing.
“Washing your hands, using hand sanitizer; I think the hospitals can do a lot in keeping nurses and people who are coming in contact with Ebola following those same type of measures,” Deshaw said.
Aware that the virus is transmitted through body fluids, Deshaw said she’d prevent herself from coming in contact with those infected with the virus and believe that the Lansing government should be a little stricter when it comes to health safety in schools and other public places.
“I think taking precautions now in Lansing is definitely going to help,” Deshaw said. “Taking those kinds of precautions in schools are really important especially since all those kids are in close contact with each other.”
Lisa Manni, administration specialist for the city of Lansing also said the Lansing government should be stricter with the health safety of their citizens, but aren’t fulfilling their duties.
“It’s their job to protect us and they aren’t doing a very good job,” Manni said.
Manni said Ebola should stay in Africa and if Americans want to study and learn how to cure it, they should do so in Africa.
With media all across the world relaying information about the Ebola issue between Africa and Texas through air travels, schools, and family and friends, Deshaw expressed how much bigger the media makes the issue and how people lack knowledge concerning Ebola.
“I definitely think the media is making it a lot more frightening then it actually is, and people are generally unknowledgeable about what Ebola is and how it’s transferred,” Deshaw said.