Ebola is a terrible and potentially deadly viral disease. Over the past few weeks, the news has been filled with articles and sensational headlines about the very few cases in the United States and the single case in New York State (which was contracted in Africa, where the situation is very different). There has also been a tremendous amount of political noise made about quarantines for healthcare workers and travelers from affected countries.
Why then, is there no reason to worry, unless you plan to travel to West Africa?
The first reason is that Ebola is an enveloped virus, which means that it cannot survive for very long outside of a human or animal and it is susceptible to killing via detergents when exposed outside of the body. This is why you cannot catch Ebola without touching bodily fluid from someone who is showing active symptoms. The second reason that we should not worry is that, even in West Africa, where things are worst, each Ebola patient has only led to at most two additional cases. Contrast this to a disease like measles, where a single patient can infect nearly twenty others!
Finally, hospitals in New York are fortunate to have tremendous resources and even if a person were to contract the disease in this state, it is not a stretch to say that their chance for complete recovery would be very high.
Ebola is harder to contract than you might think.