The hysteria is infectious

Ebola Background

Ebola Disease, also known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a disease caused by infection with the Ebola virus. The virus spreads through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids and if often fatal if not treated in time. The virus was first recorded as a disease in Sudan in 1976. As of November 2014, an estimated 6,800 people have died from this outbreak, mostly in the West Africa Region. (CDC, Ebola Awareness Page, CDC.gov) The fear and mass hysteria really began with Thomas Eric Duncan was reported as the first case of Ebola in the United States. Thomas Eric Duncan died on October 8, 2014 at 7:51. (CNN)
Big image

"What we're seeing now is not an 'outbreak' or an 'epidemic' of Ebola in America. This is a serious disease, but we can't give in to hysteria or fear." – President Barack Obama on the Ebola outbreak

Ebola Hysteria

The mass hysteria began when the first case of Ebola in the US was confirmed. Previously, the virus had been mostly limited to West Africa, far away from the United States. Once Ebola was identified in the states, right at home, people began to panic, schools began to close, and hysteria and fear ensued. Due to the overwhelming fear, the government in some states initiated a 21 day forced quarantine, when Ebola was expected. Many citizens of the US such as former GOP director of South Carolina Todd Kincannon. "He responded to a story about Duncan by saying that “people with Ebola in the US need to be humanely put down immediately.” (Slate News Story, Slate.com) Outrageous statements like this one were all based out of fear, and declined after Ebola screening was implemented at airports.

Relation to the Crucible

People in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with Ebola, or are suspected of having Ebola, have been isolated from society. They have been quarantined in their apartments and in hospital wards. In Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials, people suspected of witchcraft were isolated from society and thrown into jail. In the book The Crucible, one character expresses her deep concern for the number of people being locked away for suspicion of witchcraft, "John, with so many in jail, more than Cheever's help is needed now, I think." A similarity can be drawn today that suspects are ostracized from the rest of society just because they are thought to have Ebola, or thought to be a witch. A perfect example of this is Kaci Hickox. She is a nurse for Doctors Without Borders and worked in West Africa. When she returned from Africa, she was detained against her own will at a hospital even though she didn't have Ebola. This is very similar to Rebecca Nurse, from the Crucible, who was held in jail and then executed just because of a suspicion of witchcraft.

Work Cited

"Ebola (Ebola Virus Disease)" CDC, Last edited: December 8, 2014.


"Thomas Eric Duncan: First Ebola death in U.S." CNN. Greg Botelho and Jacque Wilson,

October 8, 2014.


"MSF Nurse Held in Isolation in New Jersey." MSF USA. Doctors Without Borders, 05 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/msf-nurse-held-isolation-new-jersey

"Thomas Eric Duncan." Wikipedia. "Last modified on 1 December 2014"


Baden, Joel, and Candida Moss. "Ebola Patient Thomas Duncan Was Portrayed as a Criminal, Craig Spencer as a Hero." Slate Magazine. Slate.com, 30 Oct. 2014. Web. 07 Dec. 2014. http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2014/10/thomas_eric_duncan_and_craig_spencer_race_nationality_and_rhetoric_of_ebola.html