The media (Newspapers, TV, Radio and blogs) are very crucial in providing information. Most people take what they get from media as gospel truth. In terms of Ebola, the American media seemed to exaggerate the disease’s facts. As a result, Americans went into panic mode.
Ebola is surely a fatal disease but it can be managed. Actually, only two Americans have been reported to have suffered from this disease. Moreover, only one of the treated individuals ended up dying. This rate of infection and fatality is much lower when compared to that of other health risks. Therefore, as much as Ebola is a terrible disease, it might not be as dangerous as the media puts it. The headlines that media used in reporting about Ebola have been quite scary. For instance, ‘Foreign Policy’ once had a headline that read: You are not nearly scared enough about Ebola. Anyone following such news would definitely get scared about the disease. In another situation, some media outlets claimed that Ebola could turn out to be airborne. This is another panic mode button that is not based on facts. The fact is that Ebola can only be transmitted when body fluids from an infected person get into another person’s body. This is mostly through contact. In addition, human viruses do not change their means of transmission with time and therefore, this claim is baseless.
When media makes people experience high levels of baseless fear, then different people are bound to experience certain impacts. The first type of impact is health related. Some people end up suffering from high blood pressure, heart related problems and depression related problems among others. Moreover, when someone is under stress, his immunity level reduces and this makes him or her prone to different infections. The other consequences resulting from this frenzy are in the social and economic sectors. With a worried work force, productivity reduces greatly and this also reduces profitability of an industry. People are also scared and with the health effects above, they have to regularly seek health services. This is an expense that someone might not have had in his or her budget. Social stigma is also common on black people, especially West Africans, since some people inaccurately consider them as health risks. In addition, this fear reduces the chances of people meeting for public meetings.