— other names include collective hysteria, group hysteria, or collective obsessional behavior — in sociology & psychology refers to collective delusions of threats to society that spread rapidly through rumors & fear. In medicine the term is used to describe the spontaneous manifestation of the same or similar hysterical physical symptoms by more than one person.
A common manifestation of mass hysteria occurs when a group of people believe they are suffering from a similar disease or ailment. Sometimes referred to as mass psychogenic illness or epidemic hysteria.
Now, just a few days ago, the POTUS signed an executive order that allows for quarantining of persons who symptoms of certain communicable diseases. It lists them as follows, directly from the White House website:
Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled. This subsection does not apply to influenza.
Everyone is aware of the Ebola crisis happening in West Africa, and the worries Americans have about the doctor who was recently brought back home to Atlanta for treatment, which was aired for all to see, with him dressed in a protective suit. I’m not trying to downplay the seriousness of Ebola; I do believe that it’s real and happening, but I do not believe it’s as serious a threat to society as the media is making it out to be. It’s getting tons of coverage, there are images floating all over the internet of charts showing the symptoms over the days of progression without treatment. Being constantly bombarded with these images is causing a certain level of panic amongst Americans. As I mentioned above, it is very possible for people in a panic to convince themselves they are really sick, even if they aren’t & yet still display similar symptoms.
I’d really hate to see hundreds of thousands of people scaring themselves silly over this & end up being needlessly quarantined under this executive order. What could happen is, people who just think they are sick will be quarantined with people who actually are & then end getting it anyways. Eating healthy, staying clean, not worrying & getting plenty of sunshine (the Ebola virus is killed by UV ray exposure) should keep you in the clear. Take care of yourselves, and each other!