Science

Need to know: The ebola pandemic

Aug 8, 2014 /
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In Africa, ebola has already killed hundreds and sickened more than a thousand people so far this year — and the pandemic continues to spread into new countries. When did the current outbreak begin? Why can’t it be stopped? How much should you freak out? 3 ideas behind the week’s headlines.

Source: “I am Richard Preston, author of “The Hot Zone” and expert in the Ebola virus. AMA!” Reddit, 2014.
Why you should read this: “The Hot Zone” author Richard Preston (TED Talk: The mysterious lives of giant trees) addresses the worry and hype about the current outbreak — and explains why Americans don’t need to panic about ebola in the U.S. Still don’t understand the current ebola outbreak? Read this CDC site and you will.

Source: “The Doomsday Strain: Can Nathan Wolfe thwart the next AIDS before it spreads?” Michael Specter, The New Yorker, 2010.
Why you should read this: Virus hunter Nathan Wolfe (TED Talks: The jungle search for viruses, What’s left to explore?) guides a brilliant reporter through the jungles of Central Africa while explaining how deadly viruses emerge. A riveting profile of Wolfe and his African colleagues — some of whom have since died of ebola.

Source: “The readers’ quick guide for understanding a medical crisis,” Kristen Hare, Poynter, 2014.
Why you should read this: When a medical crisis story breaks, where should you turn for news? A great guide for readers and journalists alike.

“How pandemics spread,” Mark Honigsbaum and Patrick Blower, TED-Ed Original, 2014. After you watch this TED-Ed lesson, take the quiz.

Featured image courtesy of Patrick Blower/vidoons.com.