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), …

Desperate to Be Quarantined

When Cancer Treatment Made Me Radioactive, I Was Terrified I’d Expose Someone—But the Hospital Sent Me Home

I walked through a hospital door marked “Nuclear Medicine Department” knowing that when I left, I’d be radioactive.

It took just a few minutes for the doctor to administer a …

Are Ebola Patients America’s New ‘Lepers’?

A Century Ago, Panic over Leprosy Led to Rampant Stigma and Bizarre Quarantines

The reaction to Ebola isn’t new. Few things alarm people as much as the perceived danger of a deadly or devastating disease. History shows that responses to epidemics often lack …

Do Hugs Work Better than Quarantines?

President Obama's Reassuring Embrace of a Recovered Ebola Patient Was the Best Way to Say the Virus Can Be Beaten

The Constitution stipulates that the president is the commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces, but chief executives since Washington have accrued to the office a number of additional unstipulated “in-chief” …

Ebola Is Bad, But Measles Was Worse

This Year’s Terrifying Outbreak Won’t Spread as Far or as Fast as Historic Epidemics

As an epidemiologist who works with mathematical models to analyze outbreaks, I can tell you–despite the disclosure of a U.S. case in Dallas last week–there is some good news in …

Could Shoes Help Contain the Ebola Epidemic?

Growing Up in Sierra Leone, I Walked Barefoot. It Was Painful, and Now It’s a Public Health Hazard.

Growing up in the village of Konjo in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, I remember the walks. After waking up to the crowing of hens, I’d take long, cold …