Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

An informed public a safer, saner public

“To mess around with Ebola is an easy way to die.”

— Richard Preston, author

of “The Hot Zone”

Richard Preston’s 1994 non-fiction thriller, “The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story,” introduced readers world-wide to the terrors of viral hemorrhagic fevers, particularly the Ebola virus.

Preston, a New York writer and brother of Santa Fe author Douglas Preston, based his book on his 1992 New Yorker article “Crisis in the Hot Zone.”

There still is no cure for Ebola or a vaccine for it. The virus is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of a person who has it. And the prognosis for those exposed is bad — the World Health Organization says about 90 percent of those infected die.

For most Americans, if they were even aware of it, the virus’ sporadic outbreaks have occurred on other continents. Nothing to worry about here.

Now the latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa is raising fears worldwide, even in New Mexico where a woman was tested for Ebola at the University of New Mexico Hospital “out of an abundance of caution.” The woman worked overseas as a teacher and returned from Sierra Leone earlier this month with flu-like symptoms.

Though health officials on Thursday announced she does not have the deadly virus, UNMH and the state Department of Health did the responsible thing by letting the public know upfront that a potential Ebola case was under observation there.

An informed public is a safer and saner public.

— Albuquerque Journal