No, I do not have Ebola and neither do you

James Vaughn

I woke up Monday morning with an extremely sore throat, a swollen neck and a stuffy nose.

I lay in bed wondering what it could be.

A cold?


Strep throat?


I forced myself out of bed, into the shower, and off to campus for work and school. As the day progressed, the pain got worse. Finally, I decided to head over to the Health Center to find out what was wrong.

After signing in, the nurse called me into a back room. Once she checked my weight and clarified how short I am, it was time for the first set of questions:

“With this Ebola thing going around, I have to ask you these questions,” she said.

“Have you been to (insert various African countries here) recently?”


“Have you been in contact with anyone who may have been in contact with anyone who has Ebola?”

Uh, I hope not.

Enter doctor.

“So have you been to Texas or anywhere like that in the past few weeks?”


Though cable news is treating Ebola as if the entire country should be quarantined, the fact is far more people die from the flu every year than from Ebola.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 53,826 people died from influenza and pneumonia in 2011.

As of Oct. 14, 4.555 people had died from Ebola as a result of the recent outbreak, according to CNN Health. One of those deaths did occur in the United States, but the infection originated in Liberia.

I get it.

Men and women in big white suits and masks dominating the American media are scary.

Hearing that an American cruise ship has been quarantined and a school one state over closed because of possible contractions is scary.

But even though the country is on high alert (according to some) and doctors’ offices are hassling patients with questions that might raise some flags, I am here to assure you that you do not have Ebola and you will not be contracting it anytime soon.

You might want to take some extra precautions if you walk or ride a bike to class every morning, though.

According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 5,469 people died from pedestrian and bicycle related deaths in 2012.

If that doesn’t make you feel better, just remember what social media taught us this week: More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.

While both are scary, neither is likely. Rest assured.

As for me – I have a sinus infection.