These rumors have many roots, including xenophobia and a general distrust of doctors. For many, the beliefs make perfect sense. Patients around the world avoid going to doctors out of fear of what they might find out, preferring not to know if something is wrong. Others avoid hospitals because, they say, that's where many people get sicker than before they went in.
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Folk remedies such as using salt water are also appealing because they are cheap and something that victims (and potential victims) can do - some tangible way they can take action and assume control over their own health and lives; even if the treatment is unproven or may be just a rumor, at least they're doing something.
This incident is an important reminder about the damage that hoaxes and rumors can cause during a health emergency. When people are dying and desperately afraid of a dread disease like Ebola, any information will be taken seriously by some people. False rumors not only can kill, but they can also provide a false sense of security.