The Ebola Hysteria

After a hectic five weeks as a medical responsible at the Ebola case management center of Doctors without Borders in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, my friend Gunnhildur just got back to Oslo to get some rest after an intense mission.

Yet, as far as I can tell, she has not been resting, but giving tons of interviews for newspapers, radios and TV stations in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Turkey (below only some of the links). And this is just to date.


The media – and maybe the world – has become hysterical over the Ebola viral disease these days, which has been going on since February this year in West Africa.

When Gunnhildur came back from her first mission to Guinea in spring, few people were talking about Ebola and fewer seemed to care. However, since the outbreak is now perceived as a “threat” in the western world, everybody became alert.

Along with this kind of hysteria often goes a lot of false information and confusion…

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 00.26.03
Photo by Anna Sjöblom / Läkare Utan Gränser

“People seem to think that we will have an Ebola pandemic, which is not the case. Single, isolated cases can appear in our parts of the world, but in terms of Ebola spreading at the pace it is spreading in West Africa is rather impossible. The disease is not as contagious as people are led to believe. It is not an airborne disease and you need close contact with a patient with symptoms to catch it”, Gunnhildur wrote to me in an e-mail yesterday. 

She feels confident after coming back – the chances that she contracted the virus are as good as none. She thinks that in terms of being in West Africa, the clinics and projects of Doctors without Borders are some of the safest places to be. In their projects, they take all precautions to avoid any contamination. “It would feel a lot scarier visiting these countries as a regular tourist, taking public transportation, going out to markets and clubs etc.”, she explained.

Stay updated on the development of Ebola – but take your information from reliable sources that also put the disaster into perspective.

Sadly, I fear the outbreak will not be stoppable too soon, but let’s hope it will be as soon as possible through the work of organisations like Doctors without Borders as well as public health efforts to stop the spread, and thus reduce and finally end the number of people – men, women, children, families and friends – suffering and dying from the virus.

Radio interview on Swedish national radio

Turkish newspapers and

Swedish Aftonbladet and

Icelandic Frettabladid

Swedish Dagens Nyheter and and

Icelandic DV

Icelandic radio interview on RUV and

2 thoughts on “The Ebola Hysteria

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