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Dear New Yorkers, Did a Doctor Recently Vomit on You?

Ebola is not contagious the way colds and flu are

Everyone living in New York City, did Dr. Craig Spencer recently vomit or bleed directly on you? If the answer to that question is no, then you have nothing to fear from this most recent Ebola case.

Dr. Spencer understood the risk of his work to help people in Africa with the disease, so he took the appropriate precautions of checking his temperature regularly and seeking help quickly after the first sign of symptoms, while his viral load was still very low. He is now being treated appropriately. From CNN:

The doctor, identified as Craig Spencer, 33, came back from treating Ebola patients in Guinea October 17 and developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue Thursday. He is in isolation and being treated at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, one of the eight hospitals statewide that Gov. Andrew Cuomo designated earlier this month as part of an Ebola preparedness plan. […]

Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, New York City’s health commissioner, said Spencer completed his work in Guinea on October 12 and left Africa two days later via Europe. He arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport on October 17. She said he exhibited no symptoms during his journey or any time afterward until Thursday morning. He had been checking his temperature twice a day.

This is the system working exactly how it should.

Ebola does not spread easily in a country with a functioning sanitation systems. Unfortunately, the nature of the disease makes people caring for the infected uniquely at risk, but everyone else has basically nothing to fear.

The amount of concern and attention relative to actual risk is out of control.

Photo by jecobo under Creative Commons license

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at