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Ebola fears lead to conspiracy theories
02:42 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

A college sends rejection letters to applicants from Nigeria

A teacher who went to a conference in Dallas is put on leave

A principal who went to his brother's funeral in Africa is now on vacation

A TSA agent who patted down Amber Vinson is sent home

CNN  — 

This is getting ridiculous.

While the threat of Ebola is very real in Africa, the paranoia it’s generated in the United States is unreal.

You can count the number of documented cases in America on two hands – and still have fingers to spare.

There are eight confirmed cases. And in each one, the patient was either infected in Liberia or Sierra Leone, or had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian returnee who’s the sole fatality of the disease in the U.S.

Health care professionals, both within the government and those with little reason to parrot a party line, insist that the chances of any of us catching the virus are minuscule.

If we really need something to worry about, they say, worry about getting your flu shots. From 1976 through 2007, flu-related causes killed between 3,000 and 49,000 people in the U.S.

And yet, the disproportionate hysteria over Ebola multiplies contagiously.

Mel Robbins, a CNN commentator and legal analyst, has given it a name: Fear-bola.

“Fear-bola attacks the part of the brain responsible for rational thinking,” she says. “It starts with a low-grade concern about the two health care workers diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas and slowly builds into fear of a widespread epidemic in the United States.”

Complete coverage of the Ebola outbreak

How bad is it?

So bad that nearly two thirds of those queried in a Washington Post/ABC News poll said they’re concerned about an epidemic in the U.S.

So bad that the Centers for Disease Control, in the first week of October, fielded 800 calls from concerned Americans.

So bad that even after a Dallas lab worker – who isolated herself in her cabin during a Carnival Cruise because she may have possibly handled Duncan’s clinical specimen – was cleared, the Moore, Oklahoma, Public Schools asked students and faculty who were on the same cruise not to come to school.

Here are some more examples of our overreaction:

From Nigeria? Not this year

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.

“With sincere regret, I must report that Navarro College is not able to offer you acceptance for the Spring 2015 term,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.”

The college called it “the responsible thing to do.”

“At this time, we believe it is the responsible thing to do to postpone our recruitment in those nations that the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department have identified as at risk.”

Incidentally, Nigeria had 19 cases, but none in the last 43 days. In fact, the World Health Organization declared it Ebola-free on Monday.

Who shouts ‘Ebola’ on a plane?

Get sick in a parking lot, force a shutdown

A woman boarded a shuttle bus in a Pentagon parking lot Thursday, got off and vomited. A hazmat team responded, the area was cordoned off, military officials going to a Marine Corps ceremony were temporarily quarantined, the woman was put into isolation.

A Pentagon spokesman said it was “out of an abundance of caution.”

The woman didn’t have Ebola.

Get sick on a plane, stay in the bathroom