10 Things to Read If You’re Freaking Out About Ebola

First thing’s first: Don’t panic about the recent confirmation of the first case of Ebola in the United States. Yes, the Center for Disease Control confirmed the first diagnosed case of the disease in this country yesterday. And yes, it’s definitely a scary disease. The epidemic currently gripping West Africa, particularly Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, has infected 7,178 people and killed 3,338. But Ebola isn’t something that’s airborne, you actually have to be in contact with a sick person’s bodily fluid to catch it. And infectious disease experts note that there are major differences between the healthcare systems of the U.S. and those in West Africa, where many hospitals lack basic resources like running water. Bottom line: It’s very unlikely that you’re going to catch Ebola in the Unites States. But for those who want to keep up to speed on the epidemic and even learn how to help those suffering from the disease, here are 10 things you should read.

1. The rundown of facts on Ebola from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which gives guidelines of the signs and symptoms of the disease, as well as how it’s transmitted and a list of the current and past outbreaks.

2. A firsthand account of someone who survived the Ebola virus in Guinea, as told to the BBC. His wife and cousin also survived contracting the virus.

3. This hopeful story from NPR on how doctors are working to beat the disease. From one medic on the front lines: “This is just a virus. It’s a virus like influenza. When we have influenza we know we stay home, take our fluids and let our bodies do the rest. That’s the same thing that we are doing here.”

4. A round-up of Twitter accounts that you can follow for updates on the disease and correspondents in the field, as well as analysis to keep you up-to-date.

5. The story of Fatu Kekula, a 22-year-old Liberian who saved her relatives from the disease by caring for them. She improvised protective gear to prevent getting infected herself.

6. This report on an experimental Ebola serum ZMapp that maybe saved the lives of several American aid workers.

7. Take a look at this handy graphic which demonstrates how hospital workers in the United States screen patients for Ebola and then contact potential sources of an outbreak to cut off the disease before it spreads.

8. Check out this list of common misunderstandings and misperceptions about the disease and how it spreads.

9. And there’s this article suggesting that big pharmaceutical companies may be grinding into gear to help alleviate the crisis, too.

10. Visit the American Red Cross or other charities working to help end the disease and donate a little money. It’ll make you feel better, and maybe someone else, too.

(Image via Shutterstock)