Articles on Epidemic

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Having health-care workers use personal protective equipment significantly reduces the risk of onward transmission. AHMED JALLANZO/EPA

Quarantine works against Ebola but over-use risks disaster

A man in the United States has become the first known international traveller to be infected in the West Africa Ebola epidemic and carry the virus abroad. He is thought to have been infected in Liberia…
A Liberian nurse disinfects a looted mattress taken from an elementary school that was used as an Ebola isolation unit in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. AHMED JALLANZO/EPA

Epidemic ethics: four lessons from the current Ebola outbreak

The extent of the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has belatedly focused the attention of non-governmental organisations, local and Western governments, and international media. What we haven’t…
Major pharmaceutical companies have shown little interest in developing effective treatments for illnesses such as Ebola virus disease. AAP Image/David Crosling

How Western national interest drives Ebola drug development

Ebola virus disease typically only occurs in rural and remote areas among resource-poor populations. Until the large, recent outbreak in West Africa, cases of the illness were a rarity. So the fact that…
Border screening for Ebola is unlikely to be effective because the virus has a 21-day incubation period and early symptoms are similar to common infections such as malaria. EPA/AHMED JALLANZO

Ebola outbreak is cause for concern but there’s hope yet

The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is now the largest recorded since the virus was first described in 1976. That this outbreak is not under control after more than four months is cause for great…
Many people infected have had no contact with camels or other animals. Al Jazeera English/Flickr

MERS coronavirus: animal source or deliberate release?

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS Co-V) emerged in 2012 and has caused ongoing illness in the Middle East and more than 280 deaths. The public health response to MERS-CoV has been…
A new oral drug could help reduce the spread of measles. Destinys Agent/Flickr

Scientists hold hope for new measles drug

A new oral antiviral drug may be a future tool in the global fight against measles, according to a new international study…
What we know from other disasters is that infectious disease outbreaks aren’t inevitable. AAP/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

How best to help the Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan

Once again, a cataclysmic disaster has hit an Asian nation. But a well co-ordinated aid response mindful of lessons from other disasters could mean a faster recovery. Last Friday, Typhoon Haiyan (known…
A tower of used books.

Google’s flu fail shows the problem with big data

When people talk about ‘big data’, there is an oft-quoted example: a proposed public health tool called Google Flu Trends. It has become something of a pin-up for the big data movement, but it might not…
West Nile virus is responsible for a significant number of bird deaths in the United States. Ed Gaillard

Explainer: West Nile virus outbreak in the United States

A state of emergency has been declared in Dallas, Texas as local authorities battle an outbreak of the deadly West Nile virus. The state is on track to report record numbers of the mosquito-borne disease…

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