Ebola difficult to catch, don't give into 'hysteria', says Obama

Telling Americans to avoid giving in to the 'hysteria' generated by the deadly Ebola virus, US President Barack Obama dished out a placatory weekly address, convincing his countrymen that they knew how to fight the disease and it hadn't reached to an extent of 'epidemic or outbreak' in US.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Oct 19, 2014, 15:46 PM IST
Ebola difficult to catch, don't give into 'hysteria', says Obama

Washington: Telling Americans to avoid giving in to the 'hysteria' generated by the deadly Ebola virus, US President Barack Obama dished out a placatory weekly address, convincing his countrymen that they knew how to fight the disease and it hadn't reached to an extent of 'epidemic or outbreak' in US.

Obama added that his entire administration was doing everything possible to check the further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

Obama's remarks come as his administration has drawn flak after the first American to have contracted Ebola on American soil, Thomas Eric Duncan, succumbed to the disease in Dallas.

Also, criticism mounted after a nurse contracted the disease, while treating Duncan in Dallas hospital.

Talking about the disease, Obama made three salient points, the first one of which dealt with how it was not just the government's job to tackle a huge public health challenge like this. He cautioned people not to let themselves be swayed away by the hype and fear created by Ebola, and urged them to remain “guided by science”.

“All of us -- citizens, leaders, the media -- have a responsibility and a role to play. This is a serious disease, but we can't give in to hysteria or fear because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need,” Obama said in his weekly address.

Seeking to calm fears of Ebola risk worsening into an epidemic, he said that being a nation of more than 300 million people, US had so far only seen three people contracting Ebola.

Obama also said how Ebola was a difficult disease to catch when compared to Flu, which is airborne.

 

 

Seeking to diffuse fears about Ebola contraction, Obama said he had hugged the doctors and nurses treating Ebola patients, and he was still safe.

He informed people that Ebola could be contracted only by coming in the direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has shown the symptoms.

He further assured people saying that the administration had stepped up efforts to track and monitor anyone who may have shown systems, so that they do not repeat what happened in Dallas.

However despite a growing chorus of lawmakers demanding a travel ban on West africans, Obama made it clear that he was not in favour of imposing a travel ban, saying it would further worsen the situation.

"We can't just cut ourselves off from West Africa," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "Trying to seal off an entire region of the world - if that were even possible - could actually make the situation worse," he said.

Ebola is a deadly disease that has so far killed more than 4,500 people, most of them in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.