AP to staff: Exercise caution over reports of suspected Ebola cases
The AP has issued guidance to its staff on how to report on and refer to two viruses in the news: Ebola and enterovirus.
Regarding Ebola, the AP explains:
Often the fact of an unconfirmed case isn’t worth a story at all. On several occasions already, in the U.S. and abroad, we have decided not to report suspected cases. We’ve just stayed in touch with authorities to monitor the situation.
Many news outlets today are reporting on a patient in Washington, D.C., who is "presenting symptoms that could be associated with Ebola." But the AP notes:
In the United States, the CDC has — as of now — received about 100 inquiries from states about illnesses that initially were suspected to be Ebola, but after taking travel histories and doing some other work, were determined not to be. Of 15 people who actually underwent testing, only one — the Dallas patient — has tested positive.
Meanwhile, enterovirus is "not a disease that must be reported, and only very sick patients may be tested for it."