We Americans sometimes seem to have only two settings when it comes to public health issues: "unconcern" and "panic." (I think the media deserve a great deal of blame for this.) The last few weeks have seen the switch flipped to near-panic about Ebola after the recent infection of two Texas Health Presbyterian nurses who were treating infected patient Thomas Eric Duncan and possible exposure of additional people after one of the nurses took a commercial flight. The fact that 43 individuals who had direct contact with Mr. Duncan have now passed the 21-day incubation period for the disease without signs of infection, that Senegal has been declared free from Ebola (no new infections have occurred there for 42 days), that Nigeria is close to the same milestone, and that the two nurses who treated Mr. Duncan, Amber Vinson and Nina Pham, are doing much better, doesn't seem to make much of a dent in the fear-mongering I've seen in recent weeks.
And now with the report that a physician with Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to his home in New York City from West Africa, has tested positive without Ebola, the "Ebola panic" is just going to get worse.