Infectious disease

Category archives for Infectious disease

I’ve been asked several times about this NY Post article on the CDC’s “admission” that a sneeze could spread Ebola. The Post (which, I should note, is the least credible newspaper in New York City, for those not familiar with the paper) suggests that the CDC has changed their tune regarding the spread of Ebola.…

Granny’s mean pot of bushmeat stew

My Great-Grandpa and Granny Beck were, in some ways, ahead of their time. My Grandpa’s mom and step-dad, they both went through scandalous divorces and then switched partners with another couple, Granny Orpha marrying Wade and my Grandpa’s dad Lee marrying Wade’s ex-wife, Edna. Orpha and Wade raised 5 of Orpha’s boys together, and had…

The Hot Zone was first released in 1994, the year I graduated high school. Like many readers, that book and Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague* really sparked my interest in infectious diseases. In some sense, I have those books to thank (or blame?) for my career. But I’m still going to criticize The Hot Zone,…

My first article at The Guardian is up: No, Ebola in Dallas does not mean you and everyone else in the US is going to get it, too.

Where do we stand on Ebola?

Have a new article up at Slate. Nine months into the worst-ever Ebola outbreak, here’s where we stand.

Deadly distrust

Gregg Mitman’s article in the September 17th New England Journal of Medicine, “Ebola in a Stew of Fear,” is unfortunately all too prescient. Dr. Mitman highlighted “the ecology of fear” in Western Africa. Fear is present on both the part of Westerners (scared of Africa’s yellow fever, malaria, Ebola, its mere “different-ness”), and by native Africans (of…

Baby on board–in a BSL4 lab

I’m happy to welcome Dr. Heather Lander to the blogosphere and Twitterverse. She’s a virologist who has done work with some of the world’s deadliest pathogens in a high-security biosafety level 4 laboratory. This is the type of lab where one must wear “space suits” to work with organisms. You’ve probably seen in dramatized in various movies and…

By the same lead author that published the pig Ebola transmission paper comes a new publication examining airborne transmission among primates. In these, Ebola did *not* spread between non-human primates (NHPs) via air. I sent an email to the PI to comment; will update the post if he responds, but in the meantime, some money…

Yambuku, Zaire, 1976. A new disease was spreading through the population. Patients were overcome by headaches and bloody diarrhea. The disease was spreading through entire families and wiping them out. Eight hundred and twenty-five kilometers to the northeast, a similar epidemic was reportedly raging across the border in Maridi, Sudan. Were these outbreaks connected? Despite…

Addressing more Ebola myths

For several days now, people have been quoting The Hot Zone* at me as a realistic account of an Ebola outbreak. Just…no. I have an article up today at mic.com addressing this and some more Ebola myths: Everything you know about Ebola is wrong.   *Entertaining as hell, but very over-dramatized.