With the closest known US cases of Ebola diagnosed about 258km away in Dallas, Texas, Cary Griffin is taking no chances. If, as the former correctional officer fears, the virus spreads to hundreds of people, Griffin is headed to the woods. “I’ll do what the English royalty did to survive the bubonic plague,” Griffin says, referring to King Charles II’s flight to the countryside during the Great Plague of London in 1665-66. “I’m going into the country.” Griffin, 27, of Huntsville, Texas, is among a growing if loosely-defined segment of Americans, known as “preppers”, who plan, train and stockpile in preparation for a natural calamity or societal breakdown. For many, the three cases of Ebola diagnosed in the US so far since late September represent a new potential disaster and a reason to run to the store. Preppers are at the extreme edge of concern over Ebola, which has led to a series of false alarms driven by fear. Government efforts to stop the virus spreading from the three worst-hit West African countries, where more than 4,500 have died, include some travel restrictions and enhanced screening at airports. Chad Huddleston, an anthropologist at the University of Southern Illinois at Edwardsville, who studies preppers and estimates their numbers in the US in the low hundreds of thousands, says those he has talked to are more concerned with undue public fear than with contracting Ebola. via The Star Online.
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