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Ebola’s Message: Public health and Medicine in the Twenty-First Century

MIT Press
Place of Publication: 
Cambridge, MA

Interdisciplinary perspectives on the science, politics, and ethics of the 2013–2015 Ebola virus disease outbreak.

The 2013–2015 outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was a public health disaster: 28,575 infections and 11,313 deaths (as of October 2015), devastating the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone; a slow and mismanaged international response; and sensationalistic media coverage, seized upon by politicians to justify wrongheaded policy. And yet there were also promising developments that may improve future responses to infectious disease epidemics: the UN Security Council's first involvement in a public health event; a series of promising clinical treatments and vaccines for EVD; and recognition of the need for a global public health system to deal with epidemics that cross national borders. This volume offers a range of perspectives on these and other lessons learned, with essays on the science, politics, and ethics of the Ebola outbreak.

The contributors discuss topics including the virology and management of EVD in both rich and poor nations; the spread of the disease (with an essay by a leader of Médecins Sans Frontières); racist perceptions of West Africa; mainstream and social media responses to Ebola; and the ethical issue of whether to run clinical trials of experimental treatments during an outbreak. (Publisher)