Are you scared of Ebola? I’m not.
Sure, I’ve followed the news. I know about the 4000+ fatalities so far… and the 8000+ souls who are probably next.
But I also know there are worse things.
I know of a highly contagious bacteria that kills around 195,000 people a year and has already infected another 16 million. I know I’m far more likely to encounter this than Ebola (I’m certain I already have) because it’s Pertussis, or plain old ‘Whooping Cough’. And then there’s a virus with a 90% contagion rate that kills up to 500,000 a year. The World Health Organisation calls it Morbillis but you probably know it as ‘Measles’.
Of course, after half a century of effective vaccination we no longer fear Whooping Cough or Measles and these days some find it hard to believe that conditions like these pose any threat at all. I understand why they think that. But they’re still wrong.
And thanks to a growing on-line network of misinformation and conspiracy theories, some have even convinced themselves that the real danger lies in the vaccines themselves. Wrong again.
Think about that for a second. Groups like the Australian Vaccination Network are actively encouraging people in your community to refuse safe, effective vaccines that would prevent their kids (and by extension, the people around them) from contracting some very nasty diseases… some of which are far, far worse than Ebola.
That’s what I call scary.