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Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 13, 2014 at 6:30 AM

Ebola: Stop minimizing potential impact

Physicians and officials who are telling us about Ebola are minimizing the enormous impact that this disease may inflict in our country [“Health care worker catches Ebola from man who died,” Nation & World, Oct. 12]. I want them to stop patronizing us and give us the bigger picture of this disease’s possible range of impacts.

Epidemics are normal recurrences. The Spanish flu of 1918 killed an estimated 675,000 Americans. The health czar in St. Louis at that time ordered schools and businesses closed to limit contagion (can you imagine the outrage such a closure would provoke today?)

The ensuing flu deaths in St. Louis were one-fourth the number proportionately as in Philadelphia. While the experts maintain Ebola is contagious only through contact with a victim’s “bodily fluids,” we live in homes, not hospitals, where we routinely care for our sick loved ones and thereby may risk contracting ebola in our family member’s early care.

If the media continue to report daily increases of Ebola deaths in our country, the public may come to think the disease is out of control and that no experts are in charge or credible. We and our experts need the courage to remember that human beings are subject to ravaging diseases, the best human responses are usually less than perfect and sacrifices may be required — financially and personally.

We need to let go of expectations of perfection and support the best knowledge and practices our national community can muster.

Susan Wineke, Bellevue

Comments | More in Ebola | Topics: disease, Ebola, health

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