Unfounded rumors about an Ebola outbreak at Burning Man circulated on social media during the weekend following heavy rain on Friday, which resulted in flooding and muddy conditions. Tens of thousands of festival-goers were advised to seek shelter from the stormy conditions and ration their food and water.
Despite the tumultuous situation at Burning Man and the unfortunate passing of one participant, authorities have reassured the public that no instances of Ebola have been reported. The Bureau of Land Management, responsible for managing the Black Rock Desert site in Nevada, has stated to the press that they have not received any reports of participants having Ebola.
Speculations began to spread over the weekend when a few people on X, previously known as Twitter, posted a screenshot of a fabricated CDC message alleging the presence of a severe illness, typically associated with regions in Africa, at the location of a week-long music and arts festival. In a separate incident, another X user asserted that they had tested positive for Ebola.
Ebola is a highly grave and frequently lethal disease that is contracted by humans from wild creatures like fruit bats and porcupines. It subsequently spreads within the human community through direct exposure to the bodily fluids of an infected individual or contact with contaminated surfaces, as stated by the World Health Organization. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the typical fatality rate stands at 50%.
It falls under the category of viral hemorrhagic fevers, a group of illnesses that impact multiple organ systems in the body, harm the cardiovascular system, and impair the body's autonomous functioning.
The initial instances of Ebola outbreaks took place in isolated communities in Central Africa back in 1976. The most severe recorded outbreak occurred in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). Within that time frame, the United States saw a total of 11 Ebola cases, primarily among healthcare professionals who had recently visited West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).