The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

That An Ebola Epidemic in the U.S Is very Unlikely.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/6/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,480 times Debate No: 62688
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)




Topic: That an Ebola outbreak is unlikely in the U.S.

The BoP in this debate will be shared. Whoever fufills the BoP better will win the debate. My BoP is that it is very unlikely that an Ebola epidemic will happen in the U.S. My opponent's BoP is that it is very likely that an Ebola epidemic will happen in the U.S.

(a) Very Unlikely: 0.01-10%
(b) Epidemic: Infecting 3 million people (1% of U.S pop.)
(c) Ebola: Ebola Virus (EBV)

My opponent may only and ONLY argue that there is a very high chance of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S (90-99.9%) so the scales are even.

The structure for the debate will be as followed:

(1) Ground rules, terms, acceptance.
(2) Opening arguments only.
(3) Rebuttals only.
(4) Conclusion, no rebuttals or arguments.

I wish luck to my opponent. Also, I'm rusty, so don't expect me to go all thett3 in this debate...


I'll keep as is. Good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


If it is OK with my opponent, I request to change the BoP of me to <50%, and his to >50%. Read Zaradi's comment for explanation. If he wants, we can refute in R4 also. Forward onto the debate.


Ebola is a disease that kills up to 90% of those infected. There are five strains, and the one in the West Africa is the Zaire Strain. The symptoms of Ebola include headache, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding. However, this disease will not spread in America.

P1. Disease Spread

Ia. It is widely known, and proven, that Ebola only spreads through bodily fluids of an infected person who is already showing symptoms [1]. That significantly increases the disease efficiency in poor and illiterate places, such as Africa, where people are not properly warned about how Ebola spreads. Ebola is spreading in Africa quickly because many Africans perform burial rituals, where other members of the family kiss and hug the corpse, spreading the disease. People who can not read do not know not to touch or help a sick person, which means bodily fluids infect the person handling the victim [2].

Ib. America is a much more literate and richer country, meaning people are aware as to how Ebola spreads and not to touch an infected person. Furthermore, American people are much more likely to isolate themselves if he/she thinks that they have Ebola, as he/she will know the symptoms of Ebola and if they were or are at risk of Ebola. Many Africans, however, do not know. Thus, it is very logical to believe that the U.S will not suffer any higher than 3 million people infected.

Ic. The conclusion here is that America is a much more developed country, and Ebola is not known to thrive in countries like ours. We have guidelines set, many Americans are aware of Ebola, and we know when and how to seek medical help. Our doctors are far more advanced, and we have a greater amount of hospitals with better equipment than Africa does.

P2. We Have Guidelines in Place

IIa. My second point is that we have many guidelines set in case Ebola should start spreading in the U.S. One is that we can easily trace contacts [3] to quickly isolate people who are at risk of Ebola. By isolating people who are at risk for Ebola, we significantly lower the risk of people catching Ebola. We have already put this plan into action in the U.S, and so far it is a success, as we have quarantined 4 people and are watching 100 others, successfully eliminating them from spreading the disease [4] (if they have it.) Thus far, there have been no new cases reported.

IIb. The CDC has been issuing guidelines for hospitals, aircraft, and medical personnel to try and stop any possible spread of the virus [5]. We have trained many people to respond and quickly stop any given Ebola outbreak, without infecting themselves. This expands my point that awareness is higher in America then in Africa by a wide margin. For an example, I will use the Dallas case. From Sept. 28th on, every guideline was carefully followed. Thomas Eric Duncan was quickly isolated from the other hospital patients, while the CDC and others tracked down 100 people who Duncan had been in contact with [6]. The 100 people who were exposed are having their temperatures taken twice a day, and are ordered to stay home. This means, unless there is a huge error, Ebola in the U.S is not going to happen.

IIc. The CDC is also limiting air travel to and from the countries most heavily affected [7]. Though Ebola has only infected <10,000 people, we are already considering banning air travel to and from Liberia. We are also increasing screening at U.S airports to decrease the chance of Ebola coming to another country.

P3. By Example

IIIa. Nigeria stopped it. When a person collapsed at an airport in Nigeria, an Ebola "epidemic" began... except Nigeria stopped it and it only infected 20 people [8]. The outbreak in Nigeria is considered to be over. Nigeria is a far less developed country then America, with less healthcare and not as organized society [9]. If they could stop the outbreak at just 12 people, it is logical to think that the U.S could stop it at under 3 million. In fact, I'd go as far as to say it is almost a certainty that the U.S would stop the outbreak in like fashion before in infects 3 million people.

IIIb. What's more important is that U.S now has an example and knows how to stop it, through Nigeria. As we have more healthcare clinics, better materials, and more doctors, we should be able to do what Nigeria did, either more than once and/or better. The two areas affected by Ebola (Lagos and Rivers) were quickly cleaned up by the governors of the respected areas, which we do have (governor for every state). Nigeria sets an example for us to work in terms of mostly governors, and example we can easily follow.

P4. It's not like other diseases

IVa. Ebola is not like other diseases. It can only spread through bodily fluids of an infected patient [1] and even then, the patient must be exhibiting symptoms. Ebola is not like the Spanish Flu, the closest thing to a "pandemic" the post industrial era has ever seen. The Spanish Flu is transmissible via air before a patient shows symptoms [10] as it attached itself into the respiratory syndrome. This means it spread out of control as a person did not know how they got infected and the government could not trace where and who is at risk, meaning the virus was free to roam the streets. Even then, it did not wipe out the world.

IVb. Smallpox is like Ebola (kind of) except that Smallpox is transmissible by coughing [11]. Though the people in the past did not have the medical wiseness and research we have today, we were still able to eradicate it without it destroying the U.S. Like the Spanish Flu, Smallpox was not traceable and people could not be knowingly and easily quarantined like they can with Ebola.

IVc. There's a similarity in all of the "pandemic" diseases: they are all spread by air and can not easily be traced like Ebola can. You will say that Ebola can mutate. However, the chance is "very low." I have shown that Ebola really would need to be an airborne virus to cause an epidemic, but the chances are very low (my BoP exactly) the Ebola will become airborne [12]. Thus, it won't spread, as I have shown in the four points above.

"Very, very rarely does it completely change the way it's transmitted," Fauci said.

That will conclude my argument! I wish my opponent luck in his argument. I also urge him to respond to my requested changes to the debate format. Sources are as followed:



Case I: Ebola Spreads Easier Than You Think.

To first understand how easily the virus spreads. we need to look at the overall behavior pattern of humans. We have already established from Pro's last case that Ebola can be spread only when showing symptoms. Here are some of the symptoms. (1)

Symptoms of Ebola include
  • Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Let's look at the first symptoms provided by WHO. (2)

"The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat."

These are the first symptoms. If I came down with something, I would probably check WebMD for anything it could possibly be. None of the possible viruses are Ebola. (3) Thus, I would most likely deem it not serious. Established by Pro's case, Ebola can be spread by contact with sweat, urine, and blood.

Sub Point 1: Human Interaction

As we can see from these statistics, married couples have been on the rise. (4) The most recent data from 2007 claims that there are a total of 58,945,000 married couples in the US as off 2007. Now, we all know married couples kiss, hug, have sex, ETC. Once someone in the family is showing casual symptoms, even a little kiss on the check would spell doom for the lover. Even shaking hands with an infected person. If you have a cut on your hand, your done.

Conclusion Of Point I;

Even though Ebola can be detected, the early symptoms point to something like strep throat. This leaves more time for the infected individual to infect people by contact such as a simple hand shake. The disease spreading is easier than you think.

Case II: We can't contain this forever

This is plain and simple. With Obama sending in troops to Ebola stricken countries, and letting people come back when they are infected with Ebola, it's just a matter of time before a epidemic happens. The airport security for Liberia was way too lenient, and let an infected person back to the United States (5)! All he had to do was simply lie to the airport security personnel and he was home-free. It was that easy. Luck was in our favor this time, it may not be the next time.

As of right know, I can't write more than this. Sorry! Good luck!

Debate Round No. 2


Wow... you respond pretty quickly! Good job by con, and refuting his arguments should be pretty fun!


May I first point out that my opponent did not respond to me requested changes in round II, so the debate format and the BoP stands. However, since if the chances fall outside of the range given in the first round, I urge the voters to vote for whoever fulfills their BoP better.

Also, I am worried about his second argument. He states we can not contain this forever. I meant the current outbreak in Africa will not trigger an epidemic in America. I will admit it was heavily implied (all my sources were current about the current outbreak, my arguments were about the current outbreak.) Though I feel that is the case, I will refute the second argument like he told it.

My outline will be refuting all of his arguments, then asking a question that sums up my argument. Please note the simple answering of the question is not enough. My opponent still has to refute all my arguments/rebuttals. Off we go!

Note: The mutation chance for Ebola to spread like the Flu is very, very low (see round 2, Argument IVc, source and quote.)

==Rebuttal I==

a. My opponent states that Ebola spreads easier than I think. However, he fails to mention that the severe onset of symptoms are not like other diseases. The first four symptoms alone are enough to merit a trip to the hospital. Ebola can also easily be singled out by the patients travel history. If a patient travels to Liberia, Sierra Leone, etc. Ebola would then be on the list. There was a low-risk patient in DC who was admitted to the hospital after showing signs of a cold after traveling to Nigeria [1].

b. Second, you should know better than webMD with a disease like Ebola brewing on. You should ask yourself your travel history, have you touched anyone who was sick in Africa, etc. If you have, you would go to the hospital, contact your travel information, and be quickly isolated. WebMD is not a valid argument whatsoever. Also, the symptoms start getting serious after a day [2]. You would not deem it something "not serious."

"This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding." -WHO

c. Human interaction is common, yes. If one patient in your family has Ebola, you will be quarantined in a tiny Dallas apartment for 21 days [3]. We are not taking any chances here. In a common practice with diseases like this, health workers single out people who have had contact with the patient, and quarantine them for 21 days. When a patient is starting to show symptoms, they are isolated. Second, SARS, Smallpox, Spanish Flu, etc. are all spread by air, even before symptoms start to show. Thus, the contagious rate is much, much higher than Ebola. And yet humanity, not even at its most advanced stage, stopped it. So, we can stop Ebola in one of the most advanced countries of the most advanced time.

This argument is refuted. I ask my opponent: Does Ebola spread easier than Smallpox or the Spanish Flu? If he can not prove Ebola will spread like the Flu, I have successfully negated this point.

Rebuttal II

a. Despite this being a debate about the current outbreak of Ebola, I will refute this as if the debate were about Ebola in any case. First, the man in Liberia is facing prosecution if he survives for lying at the airport [4]. There's a case that he should be charged for negligent [attempted] murder if his spouse or anyone else gets it from him. The airport security is going up, and Obama is mulling the idea of significantly increasing airport checks. It's also a matter of time that, if the case in Africa is serious enough, flights to and from will be banned.

b. Just in case, I will also tell you that the use of ZMapp has shown patients improving when given it. We are already showing significant progress in the fight for a cure, with patients antibodies to study, ZMapp, cAd3-ZEBOV, and rVSV-ZEBOV already helping [5]. We can contain this forever, if we find a vaccination. We have contained other diseases so far, ones we haven't even discovered yet, etc. Plus, we won't spend "forever" on Earth. We may move to another planet in a few hundred years.

This argument is refuted. I ask my opponent: if we have eradicated Smallpox, developed vaccinations for polio and the Flu, why can't Ebola follow suit, especially with the successful experimental drugs already in existence? If he can not answer this question, this argument is negated.

I hand this debate back over to my opponent. I wish him luck! Sources are as followed:



Hey man! I'm over-inundated with debates, homework, and life. :( I wanted to give you your first win back. I did that. Unfortunately, I couldn't entertain a full debate. This debate is the one with the least time left, and the one I know the least about. I ask the voters for a tie. However, if Pro is headstrong on making this a win for him, I will find a way to continue in round four. Thank you for your understanding!
Debate Round No. 3


I will meet my opponent halfway here. I ask the voters to focus on ONLY the arguments, and to ignore my rebuttals. I am sorry, but I worked too hard for a tie. I hope you understand. Whoever had the better arguments will win this debate. No need to continue in round 4, I understand!


I agree. Let the voters vote on the arguments not the rebuttals.

Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by caseytabs 2 years ago
I agree with Pro. If the outbreak was stopped in Nigeria, a country much far less cultivated than the states, and only infected 20 people, then the outbreak will no doubt be stopped far before 3 million people get infected.
Posted by wutitdoo 2 years ago
I don't think ebola is a serious threat to people in the United Stated due to all the research that is done by scientists everyday, I just don't see it as a serious threat.
Posted by Piceno 2 years ago
I think the virus won't spread that much. The government will stop the virus before it gets too serious.
Posted by mrebola 2 years ago
If we had an Ebola outbreak it probably wouldn't last long. The U.S. would hurry to make something to control the problem, just like they always do with other stuff.
Posted by katef 2 years ago
ebola is a tragical disease that does affect ourselves and the people around us. if the united state was capable of receiving an outbreak i do believe we have the sufficient technique and equipment to take responsibility of the infection before it becomes wild spread and other people get infected. not only in finding a cure to make things better but in change of our daily communities and environment around us. His statement was strong and narrow clarified about what is going on now daily in life since ebola has been on spread. keep up the great work i enjoy having the time to read it .
Posted by raaychxll 2 years ago
I think that an Ebola outbreak is possible to happen in the U.S but i think if it does we would be able to handle it much better because of all the high tech stuff we have. In the us we have much better medical equipment to deal with stuff like this so if Ebola was to ever effect the U.S we would be able deal with it in a much better matter.
Posted by Jovany14 2 years ago
Ebola is a very unique disease that harms organs and tissues and spreads very easily by just exchanging body fluid or just as simple as working with an infected patient. Now you must be very careful when you remove your PPE because if you make one mistake you will be contaminated. Now i wonder how Ebola was formed because it's a very serious disease especially in Africa.
Posted by dtaylor971 2 years ago
Changing it to 50/50 if it pleases.
Posted by Cooldudebro 2 years ago
@Zardi LOL
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
God please just from a voters perspective don't take this 0-10/90-99 thing. It make voting near impossible if it falls somewhere outside of those two ranges.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Ouch. This debate could have been much better--and I'm surprised Con didn't bring up Dallas's failures to follow the protocol that Pro so lauded. That said, given that we're only to take the two rounds of argumentation into account, Con *didn't* use that tack, and I didn't find his rebuttal to Pro's points regarding preparation and disease type compelling *for a pandemic*--remember, Con, that we're talking real, full-blown spread, here. All in all, an interesting and topical debate, and I wish it had gone was it was intended to. Arguments to Pro. I'm also awarding conduct to Pro--Con's wasn't that bad, but I do feel Pro was particularly gracious. As alwa ys, happy to clarify this RFD.