WSSU panel tackles Ebola

WSSU panel tackles Ebola
November 20
00:00 2014

Ebola was the topic on Tuesday, Nov. 11 during an international relations class at Winston-Salem State University.

A panel discussed Ebola’s causes, its transmission and the economic toll of fighting the disease. With Ebola fears high in this country and around the world, the discussion drew great interest. Curiosity attracted sophomore Kyannah Sommerville.

“I would like to fully understand what is going on,” said Sommerville, who was unaware that there have been several Ebola cases in the U.S. until her roommate informed her. “I wasn’t fully informed when I first heard about it, and I figured it would be a great time to learn more.”

Many students had questions about how Ebola is spread. Health experts agree that Ebola is extremely difficult to catch. Unlike the flu, it is not airborne.

Panelist Jeffery Meixner, an associate professor of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, said despite the hoopla, Americans are still more likely to die from the flu than Ebola.

English instructor Jinaki Abdullah said ignorance has caused mass hysteria in this country. She pointed to the case of Thomas Eric Duncan, a man who lived in the Dallas, Texas area who contracted Ebola while in West Africa. Two nurses who treated Duncan, the first known person to die of Ebola in this country, also contracted the disease, causing fears of an outbreak.

“During that time, we had panic, schools were closed and people were afraid to go to the apartment that he was in,” she said. “There were a number of things that happened because we did not understand Ebola and it was a word that brought fear to many.”

The cost of Ebola was addressed by Abdullah and Quiana Harris, junior political science major. Abdullah said hospital treatment for an Ebola patient in this country could total more than $500,000 a week, the panelists said, while cleaning the homes and other places Ebola patients frequented could cost as much as a quarter-million dollars.

The panel also featured political science professor Dr. Guy Martin, Dr. Donald Mac-Thompson, chair of the History Department, moderated the discussion.



Will Boone, an associate professor of African-American culture, listened to his colleagues from the audience. He said all the Ebola fear-mongering is unhealthy and counterproductive.

“Some of that fearmongering is misplaced. According to the scientists on the panel, we do want to be aware, but we don’t want to be paranoid,” he said. “It’s a real thing but it’s nothing to panic about.”

WSSU has scheduled the public health forum “Ebola, Be Afraid or Be Informed” on Friday, Nov. 21 in the Reaves Center to further educate the campus community.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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