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Then and Now: The Long Confusing Road to Answers After Epidemics

Then and Now: The Long Confusing Road to Answers After Epidemics

K.A. Woytonik, Ph.D. Candidate, University of New Hampshire

In current events, constant and thorough reporting on epidemics – lately Ebola devastating West Africa – produce debates over the protection of the public’s health. The recent evacuation of two American aid workers who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Liberia sparked great controversy. Meanwhile, as Americans took to Twitter and comment sections to oppose the arrival of the Ebola patients in Atlanta, West African nations closed their borders and attempted to control mobs, like one in Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia that attacked a treatment center and inadvertently flushed the frightened patients from the isolation of the hospital out into the city. Center for Disease Control officials and West African doctors alike struggled to quickly and effectively convince residents that protocols would keep them safe. They face a challenge that has stymied physicians for centuries.

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