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Diseases Americans should worry more about than Ebola, in one chart

Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

In a horrible development, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the US during the current outbreak died Wednesday in an isolation unit in Texas. Understandably, this provoked a new wave of concern over the potential impact of the disease here.

So this chart by Business Insider's Andy Kiersz is worth keeping in mind. Kiersz takes the average daily death rate for a number of common causes of death in the United States (heart disease, lung cancer,  the flu) and uses them to estimate the number of deaths from those causes in the eight days between the Ebola patient's diagnosis and death:

ebola diseases other

(Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from CDC here and here, American Lung Association, and

Ebola is a tragedy, and a growing problem in west Africa, but there are many other public health problems that present bigger threats to American lives, and panic over its presence here is extremely counterproductive. Also, note the number of estimated flu/pneumonia deaths. That's yet another reminder to get your damn flu shot already.

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