My Struggle to Report on Ebola Without Provoking Panic—or Complacency

In West Africa, Journalists Have to Sift Fact from Rumor About Links Between the Deadly Virus and Sex

Most of us think we know what a sexually transmitted disease is: syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, or herpes—all diseases that are spread mainly through sexual contact. But in November 2017, CDC researchers published the results of a search of the medical literature that showed that at least 27 different viruses can be found in semen, including Zika, which is primarily spread by mosquito bites.

It’s not known how many of these viruses are sexually transmittable, but it is already clear that Zika and Ebola are. Marburg (which is similar to Ebola), …

Depression Isn’t Just a Global Epidemic. It’s a Silent One.

We Know Very Little About Depression—Except That Talking About It Will Help

Depression is still the illness that dares not speak its name. Taboos persist. Social stigmas endure. Many confounding mysteries remain about exactly what causes depression and how best to treat …

The 1918 Flu Pandemic That Revolutionized Public Health

Mass Death Changed How We Think About Illness, and Government's Role in Treating It

Nearly 100 years ago, in 1918, the world experienced the greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, possibly in the whole of human history. We call that tidal …

How Hospital Rooms Went from Airy Temples to “Inhuman” Machines

Architecture Used to Pamper Patients. Then Designers Began Prizing Efficiency.

In the March 1942 issue of the journal Modern Hospital, Charles F. Neergaard, a prominent New York City hospital design consultant, published a layout for a hospital inpatient department that …

To End Infectious Disease, We Must Cure Our Societal Ills

Wars, Politics, and the Anti-Vaccine Movement Plague Global Efforts to Stop Epidemics

It once was stated that “man’s weakness is not achieving victories, but in taking advantage of them.” Indeed, this is the case for global infection control. Throughout history we have …

How Medicare Both Salved and Scarred American Health Care

The 52-Year-Old Federal Program's Successes Reflect a Complex Legacy

Before Congress passed Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 millions of elderly Americans lacked health insurance. They could not afford to go to the hospital, nor could they cover the …