Ebola - the Epidemic of Fear

Fear Spreads Faster than the Virus

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever indicated by high fever, severe gastrointestinal distress, and bleeding (Ebola).

Origins of Ebola

Ebola named after the Ebola River in Zaire, first emerged in Sudan and Zaire, in 1976. Over 284 people were infected in the first breakout of Ebola. This first outbreak Ebola-Sudan had a mortality rate of 55%. There were 3 more strains of outbreaks which include Ebola from Yabuku, Zaire (EBOZ) infecting 318 people with a mortality rate of 88%. Ebola Reston (EBOR) and Ebola Cote d'lvoire (EBO-CL) both deriving from primapes (Waterman).

Ebola Enters America

On September 30, 2014 Thomas Duncan a Liberian native, was diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in America. Duncan began developing symptoms on September 25th. He went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital seeking medical attention, but, "doctors failed to realize that Duncan had Ebola and was not properly prepared for it" (Voorhees). Duncan died on October 8th. The two nurses, Nina Pham and Joy Vinson, who had cared for Duncan contracted the virus.

Fear Throughout America

Ebola's appearance in American brought upon hysteria among the people. "Navarro College, a two-year college about 60 miles from Dallas, sent out rejection letters to some applicants from Nigeria because the country had a few Ebola cases" (Ahmed). Navarro College was oppressing the international applicants in areas with Ebola outbreaks. The Ebola hysteria has effect about 100 million times more Americans than the virus itself. This hysteria has caused, "People in many areas are not going to work and others are driving cars rather than taking mass transit because they fear catching Ebola from fellow passengers" (Baker). This hysteria has blinded the people from reality. A person can only contract Ebola from, "The blood or bodily fluids of an infected person," (Ebola Trans.) much like the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

The Cruible

At the end of Act 1, while Tituba is confessing her sins to Hale, Abigal interjects, and says, " I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Goody Osburn with the Devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!" (1048). Abigail was accusing other girls and spreading hysteria among the community, much like the arrival of Ebola in American (Voorhees).



Hysteria, panic, and fear influenced the choices of the authority in the trials. This hysteria lead Danforth to make horrible decision ultimately harming the community. When Danforth is presented with evidence that falsifies the accusations he, goes on to tell Francis Nurse, “And do you know that near to four hundred are in the jails from Marblehead to Lynn, and upon my signature....And seventy-two condemned to hang by my signature” (Miller, 1075)? Danforth creates more fear in the community, much like the fear of contracting Ebola influencing many Americans to stay away from public areas (Baker).


In the court hearing when John Proctor, Giles Corey, and Francis Nurse present Danforth with strong evidence, "...a sort of testament. The people signing it declare their good opinion of…” (Miller, 1079). Danforth was set on protecting the community and the good Christian faith of the community. He was blinded by the hysteria of witchcraft similar to Navarro College rejecting international students from Nigeria, even after Nigeria was declared Ebola-free (Ahmed).

The Parallel Between the Crucible and the Ebola Epidmeic

Both The Crucible and the Ebola Epidemic provoked fear and panic into the people. In the Crucible, the community was in fear of witchcraft and in the Ebola Epidemic, Americans were in fear of contracting Ebola. Danforth's hysteria of protecting the community from witchcraft closely resembles the Navarro College and their rejection of Niagara applicants, because they might have Ebola.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Saeed, and Dorrine Mendoza. "Ebola Hysteria: An Epic, Epidemic Overreaction." CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.


Baker, Dean. "Ebola Hysteria Fever: A Real Epidemic." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.


"Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Nov. 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.


"Ebola." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.


"Ebola Transmission." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.


Waterman, Tara. "Brief General History of Ebola." Brief Ebola General History. N.p., 1999. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.


Voorhees, Josh. "A Detailed Timeline of the Many, Many Medical Missteps in the First U.S. Ebola Case." Slate Magazine. N.p., 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014.