Stop the Ebola Stigma and Panic


This morning on my way to work, I turned on the radio and heard that a second nurse who took care of the patient with the first case of Ebola in the United States of America has come down with Ebola. During lunch at work as we ate, Ebola was one of the main subjects that came up in our discussion. Somebody asked why air travel around the globe cannot be banned until this situation is brought under control. Others talked of the lack of trust in the government’s ability to properly inform the public.


There is potential for panic! You can help by getting informed and staying informed with the updates.


Engage other people and initiate the conversation about Ebola. If they have fears calm their fears with facts. We know Ebola is a deadly disease, but with the right protective gear, it can be prevented. Those that have it are not outcast, or have committed a crime and should not be blamed or stigmatized.




An article I read in the New York Times today made me extremely uncomfortable and ashamed at the treatment Sierra Leone’s national team has received in some African countries. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/sports/soccer/sierra-leones-soccer-team-struggles-with-stigma-over-ebola-outbreak.html


The stigmatization is pushing the players to start doing the unthinkable. For example, one of the players said,


“When people asked if we were from Sierra Leone, we’d deny it,” Lahoud, who plays for Philadelphia’s M.L.S. team, said in a telephone interview. “We felt it was for our protection.”


I do not support this attitude, but the way we can defeat it is by taking away the stigma associated with this disease. Taking away the stigma from Ebola will “knock off the wind from its sails” and it will be eventually defeated.

  • It will prevent people from covering up when they fall sick.


  • It will encourage people to seek medical attention immediately.


  • People will immediately go into quarantine and avoid spreading the virus to others.


We cannot afford to let fear push us to the point where we resort to stigmatization for comfort. Together we can show compassion, we can educate others, we can keep the conversation going. Ebola has become a global issue and needs all of us to put an end to it.



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