Ebola is not that contagious. It’s easier to catch than HIV*, but way less than the flu, or norovirus**, aka stomach flu. One of the Ebola nurses flew on two planes before she was quarantined, and so far no one has reported catching it. Do you know how good planes are at transmitting illnesses? Extremely. So for me, the scary part of learning that two nurses caught Ebola while tending to a patient is that if their/the hospital’s hygiene was so lax as to allow transmission of Ebola (even after they elevated the hygiene procedures), what the hell else are the transmitting?
Greg Mitchell doesn’t give an exact answer, but he does have a body count: 2000 people died from hospital acquired infections last week. So if everyone could redirect their panic from the scary African disease to the nice WASPy ones and start designing emergency rooms that aren’t festering petri dishes, that would be great.
*Although because HIV has a long dormant period, a person with HIV will on average infect more people than a person with Ebola.
**I am still mad at norovirus almost killing me in 2006.