Ebola in West Texas: A survey of West Texas hospital preparedness and a look into the social implications of Ebola infection



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Ebola is a rare yet deadly virus that has recently come to the United States1 and has ties to West Texas. While it is not highly contagious because of its means of transmission,1 if an outbreak were to occur it has the potential to run rampant in community health care settings. Society is poorly educated about this disease, causing widespread fear that translates into major social and possible economic implications. While there are biocontainment facilities around the United States, their capacity is limited2 and it is predicted smaller towns do not have the equipment to support an Ebola epidemic. The aim of this thesis is to examine the preparedness of West Texas hospitals to handle cases of Ebola, and to explore the social implications that come along with this disease, including the discrimination against people from West Africa and stigmatization of those with or recovering from the disease.