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Mixed messages
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Dear Editor,
I found a lot of interesting reading in the Oct. 12 issue of the Great Bend Tribune. Your front page headline read, “Health director on Ebola: ‘Don’t Panic’”. I read that article, which seemed to dismiss peoples’ fears of the “deadly” Ebola virus (I haven’t seen the word “Ebola” printed anywhere without the adjective “deadly” preceding it) and in fact quoted an associate professor at Northwestern University’s School of Medicine as saying, “…the anxiety and fear some are having over catching Ebola – a highly unlikely health outcome – that’s hypochondria, too.” This associate professor, who has written a book on hypochondria, compares the anxiety and panic that many people are experiencing to the irrational concerns of individuals who spend “entirely too much time on WebMD”, and then become convinced that “a minor headache means a brain tumor, or that a lingering cough means lung cancer.” Rather condescending remarks, in my opinion. Moving along to the op-ed page, I read the Viewpoint, written by the Tribune’s editor, titled “Just don’t panic – Officials dispel misinformation about Ebola”, which implies – again, my opinion – that those of us who are concerned about the DEADLY Ebola virus are hysterical. Then on to the political cartoon. Grim Reaper (Ebola): “You’d be surprised what I can get through screening.” Sign in the background:  “Keep Calm and Run Like Hell”. Arrow on the wall: “This way to international departures...don’t play with bodily fluids.”
As an American citizen who is all too familiar and completely fed up with the lies coming out of Washington, D.C. and federal government agencies, I personally don’t trust the CDC or WHO, or anyone else for that matter who tells me that Ebola is nothing to worry about. It is my understanding that Ebola is many times more serious and lethal than the flu, and just look at the campaigns to get everyone immunized annually against the flu! So if it’s all the same to you, I’d prefer to be alert and, yes, CONCERNED. At this point, no one knows what strain of Ebola has been introduced into the U.S. population. A second person in Dallas has now been confirmed as having contracted Ebola from the patient who died there last week. This second person happens to be a nurse who helped to treat Mr. Duncan – and she was wearing all the hazmat approved clothing, masks, etc. So his bodily fluids entered the hazmat suit, HOW? Is this a different strain than the Ebola in Liberia? Is it MORE deadly, or LESS deadly? How contagious is it? How is it transmitted from one person to another? While we’re told not to worry about Ebola, no one is answering, or can answer, these questions.   
In the meantime, we continue to get mixed messages. Which ones are we supposed to believe – “Just don’t panic” or “Keep calm and RUN LIKE HELL”?
Sharon McGinness