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Debunking a Red Cross Ebola Myth

If you’re online regularly, you can see some unusual and often outrageous claims, especially involving big topics in the news.

Lately, you may have seen a ridiculous rumor about the Red Cross purposely spreading Ebola in African nations. The Red Cross and Red Crescent network across the globe does amazing work to respond to disasters and emergencies; promote health; tend to the sick and injured and get communities ready for future emergencies.

Red Cross workers from around the world and volunteers from the Ebola affected countries are on the ground right now trying to stem the tide of this virus.

Sharing false rumors like this through social media isn’t helping their efforts. In fact, spreading false information actually endangers the very people who are trying to make a difference. And, because the rumor also promotes the notion that Ebola isn’t real, it also minimizes the risk at a time when people-particularly those in the most affected West African nations-should be vigilant about their health. That’s dangerous too.

Before you share what you see online about this or any rumor, please take a moment to learn about the issue. The people at Snopes.com have posted an article debunking this myth entitled “We’re Not Ghana Take It”. The International Business Times, a well respected publication, even reported on this rumor, labeling it a “conspiracy theory”. The official American Red Cross response is below as well. For the most up to date information about Ebola in the U.S, we encourage you to visit www.cdc.gov/ebola.

The allegations against the Red Cross regarding the spread of Ebola in West Africa are completely false and unfounded. The Red Cross has not been providing Ebola “vaccinations” to anyone in West Africa. In fact, there is currently, no vaccine for Ebola.

Ebola is a serious and potentially deadly virus spread by human contact with infected patients. It is real and must be taken seriously.

Moreover, these allegations are an insult to the 4,000 local volunteers-themselves citizens of West African nations-who have been working tirelessly to help their neighbors. These volunteers have worked around the clock to provide prevention education, assist with burials, and provide comfort to families impacted by Ebola. In addition, the Red Cross opened a 60 bed treatment center in Sierra Leone. Patients have already started to recover and have been released from the center.

Spreading misinformation through social media is reckless and endangers lives. To learn accurate information about the ongoing relief efforts in West Africa please visit http://www.redcross.org/ebolaoutbreak.