There’s nothing like an outbreak of Ebola virus disease to bring a small, struggling African nation to international notice. One week we couldn’t place it on a map; the next week, after Ebola virus disease strikes, we know the body count and the name of the capital and whether its airport has closed.
This sad distinction now attaches to Guinea, a country of 11.5 million, in which the latest of Africa’s viral tribulations was reported by the World Health Organization, upon notification from Guinea’s Ministry of Health, on March 23. As of Tuesday the toll was 157 confirmed or suspected Ebola cases, including 101 deaths.… Seguir leyendo »
Terrible new forms of infectious disease make headlines, but not at the start. Every pandemic begins small. Early indicators can be subtle and ambiguous. When the Next Big One arrives, spreading across oceans and continents like the sweep of nightfall, causing illness and fear, killing thousands or maybe millions of people, it will be signaled first by quiet, puzzling reports from faraway places — reports to which disease scientists and public health officials, but few of the rest of us, pay close attention. Such reports have been coming in recent months from two countries, China and Saudi Arabia.
You may have seen the news about H7N9, a new strain of avian flu claiming victims in Shanghai and other Chinese locales.… Seguir leyendo »
Bad news is always interesting, especially when it starts small and threatens to grow large, like the little cloud on the distant horizon, no bigger than “a man’s hand,” that is destined to rise as a thunderhead (1 Kings 18:44). That’s why we read so avidly about the recent outbreaks of Ebola virus disease among villages in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and aboutWest Nile fever in the area around Dallas (where 15 have died of it since July). And that’s why, early this month, heads turned toward Yosemite National Park after the announcement of a third death from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome among recent visitors there.… Seguir leyendo »