MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - Fear of the Ebola virus is spreading across the globe much faster than the deadly contagion itself, experts say.
"The scale, duration, and lethality of the Ebola outbreak have generated a high level of public fear and anxiety, which extends well beyond West Africa," the World Health Organization stresses.
While the West Point Liberians have demonstrated carelessness, allowing two dozen people infected with Ebola to wander the streets of Monrovia, in the other parts of the world nations are taking extraordinary precautions in order to prevent contagion.
The Wall Street Journal reports on preventative measures being taken by hospitals and health authorities around the globe, "that often go beyond experts' recommendations, showing the impact of public concern about the deadly disease." For instance, hospitals are taking precautions used for extremely contagious airborne diseases, while Ebola virus can be transmitted only through direct contact with fluids of an infected individual. The health staff of a New York City hospital, Mount Sinai, wore a "full gear," including respirators and "hood-like devices on their heads," when treating a man suspected of having Ebola. Although such a protective outfit was not necessary, David Reich, Mount Sinai's president, explained that he "allowed them for the comfort of the staff."
The Wall Street Journal also notes that three missionaries who returned from Liberia to the US last week were immediately quarantined, although they had shown no symptoms of the incurable illness. The media source underlines that such a measure is rather unusual. Earlier in August, the Daily Mail wrote about a Briton who placed himself in voluntary quarantine, after he had arrived home from West Africa.
As fear has arisen that the virus can be transferred across the globe through air travel, South Korean Air Lines Co. has announced it would suspend flights to Kenya in order to prevent Ebola from spreading. It should be noted that no Ebola cases have yet been registered in Kenya or any of the other states in East Africa.
"The #Ebola paranoia is growing worse: Korean Air is suspending flights to Kenya, which has no Ebola cases," wrote a Twitter user, commenting on the statement made by Korean Air Lines.
Indeed, the obsessive fear of the lethal disease has turned into paranoia. The New York Daily News reported on one of Seoul's pubs in South Korea that had a peculiar sign. "We apologize but due to the Ebola virus, we are not accepting Africans at the moment," the sign reads.
"Wow! It doesn't matter that I've been in Korea for 2 years - I'm an Ebola threat!" wrote a Twitter user, who called himself Nyakallo Lekoetje, regarding the inappropriate and offensive message in the Seoul pub.
The case has immediately stirred a wave of outrage in social media, the New York Daily News notes, citing a Facebook user, who wrote on Saturday: "I told them I was South African and after some deliberation they told me I could go in (I didn't). Apparently white Africans are okay. Total bollocks."
Unconfirmed rumors about the Ebola virus are spreading rapidly through the global social networks, creating an atmosphere of distrust and fear. GOAL agency, an international humanitarian organization, officially warns against "spreading hysteria and paranoia over Ebola" in Ireland, after a rumor of an Ebola infected patient in one of the Irish clinics had passed among the social net users.
On the other hand, the United Nations' World Health Organization "is furious that social media is spreading rumors that certain unproven products and methods can cure the virus," emphasizes The New York Daily News.
"Recent intense media coverage of experimental medicines and vaccines is creating some unrealistic expectations, especially in an emotional climate of intense fear," the WHO's statement reads.
Phony cures can be extremely dangerous, health officials claim, insisting that there are no approved vaccines or drugs that fight the Ebola virus which are available on the Internet. The WHO points out that two Nigerians have already died from drinking salt water – a false method aimed to protect a person against the virus.
However, as the situation in West Africa has not been brought under control, the fear of deadly virus will continue increasing, experts claim. According to Doctors Without Borders, the Ebola outbreak could last another six months.