General Epidemiology

Category archives for General Epidemiology

I have a post up today at the Scientific American Guest blog, discussing how an earthquake and denial led to prairie dog plague. It details an outbreak of plague in Victorian San Francisco–the first time plague hit the United States–and the many downstream consequences of that outbreak (which began in 1900 and wasn’t really contained…

Where do pandemics come from?

I discuss the topic of emerging infectious diseases today over at Slate, as part of their Pandemic series.

Ebola has long been known to be a zoonotic virus–one which jumps between species. Though it took several decades to find evidence of Ebola virus in bats, these animals had previously been associated with human index cases of Ebola disease have worked in bat-infested warehouses or traveled to caves where bats roost. Non-human primates have…

Uganda hit with Marburg

Uganda’s latest Ebola outbreak, which I covered back in July, was just officially declared over on October 5th, a mere two weeks ago. Now today there is a report that three are dead from an outbreak of Marburg virus. That makes 4 Ebola outbreaks and now 2 Marburg outbreaks in the country since 2000.

Guest post by Hillary Craddock Last week a new study regarding Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was published online (Bingham et.al.). EEE is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause serious, and sometimes deadly, disease in humans and equines. In warmer parts of North America, the virus is spread year-round, but in areas where mosquitoes get killed…

Rabies is a disease without a public relations firm. In developed countries, human disease is incredibly rare–we see typically one or two deaths from rabies each year. In contrast, lightning is responsible for about 60 deaths each year. However, worldwide, rabies is another matter. Today is World Rabies Day, a reminder that 55,000 people still…

Despite its reputation as a scourge of antiquity, Yersinia pestis–the bacterium that causes bubonic plague–still causes thousands of human illnesses every year. In modern times, most of these occur in Africa, and to a lesser extent in Asia, though we have a handful of cases each year in the U.S as well. When Y. pestis…

Ebola: Back in the DRC

August, 1976. A new infection was causing panic in Zaire. Hospitals became death zones, as both patients and medical staff succumbed to the disease. Reports of nightmarish symptoms trickled in to scientists in Europe and the US, who sent investigators to determine the cause and stem the epidemic. Concurrently, they would find out, the same…

Uganda just can’t catch a break. They’ve recently been hit with nodding disease, a mysterious syndrome where children repeatedly nod their heads and undergo serious seizures, typically leading to death. Now they’re in the grips of story notes that “The site where most of the cases occurred are close to Kibale forest where there are…

Using zombies to teach science

With my colleague Greg Tinkler, I spent an afternoon last week at a local public library talking to kids about zombies: The Zombie Apocalypse is coming. Will you be ready? University of Iowa epidemiologist Dr. Tara Smith will talk about how a zombie virus might spread and how you can prepare. Get a list of…