In countries with advanced medical services, new cases of Ebola will be swiftly contained using a combination of treatments and isolation processes. But the news of individual cases will provoke economic disruption and fear in the general population, both of which will be disproportionate to the actual risks. We are calling the economic impacts that result from irrational behaviour a ‘fear multiplier effect’. The statistics show the actual probability of catching the illness is much lower than other risks people routinely encounter on a daily basis.
Dr Scott Kelly, senior research associate at the Cambridge Centre for Risk Studies, says despite Ebola’s high mortality rate, the Centre’s research suggests the greatest disruption in developed economies is actually likely to come from fear of the disease, rather than the sickness and death it causes.
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