Mislabeling someone can cause problems

There’s been a lot going on in northern Maine recently. A whole gaggle of media has been stationed closer to Canada than Portland, Maine, as it watches every move of one particular woman. “The Ebola Nurse.”

But wait, she doesn’t have Ebola. That’s right, Kaci Hickox, the nurse who returned to the United States after working with Ebola patients in West Africa, does not have the disease. And she wants you to know it.

I never had Ebola. I never had symptoms of Ebola. I tested negative for Ebola the first night I stayed in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s private prison in Newark. I am now past the incubation period – meaning that I will not develop symptoms of Ebola.

never had Ebola, so please stop calling me “the Ebola Nurse” – now!

Hickox wrote an op-ed for The Guardian pleading with the general public – but perhaps more so, the media – to stop calling her “the Ebola Nurse.”

It’s a valid request. If someone asked you, “Who is Kaci Hickox?” you may not know her name. But if someone asked you, “Have you heard about the nurse in Maine who has Ebola?” chances are you know the story and have an opinion. But, again, she doesn’t have Ebola.

When you’re writing a headline, recording a stand up, or interviewing a neighbor remember to use proper terminology so as to not perpetuate rumors and misinformation. It may be easy to boil it down to one or two words, or a short phrase, but for the sake of accuracy, don’t.

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