This brief overview of the history and nature of this deadly disease offers readers context for recent news headlines.
Named for a long, winding river in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ebola virus first appeared in 1976, killing over 100 people. Since the first outbreak, Ebola has appeared in central Africa without warning and at no consistent intervals. It seems to reappear in villages after some significant disturbance in the jungle, such as brush clearing or hunting. Newman explains how subsequent outbreaks have enabled scientists to identify patterns of Ebola symptoms and how the disease is transmitted. There is discussion of the limited options for treatment of infected people and the potential risks to health care workers treating victims. A good deal of attention is devoted to the most recent outbreak, which Newman compares and contrasts with notable outbreaks of other diseases, such as the 1918 flu pandemic, SARS, and bird flu, a strategy intended to alleviate fears readers may have. Good advice is offered on how readers can judge the reliability of information they see about widely reported stories such as the recent Ebola outbreak. Newman concludes with a list of frequently asked questions.
A well-organized, informative overview. (diagrams, maps, photos, glossary, source notes, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)