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Patient Zero Extra: Ebola

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images/Getty)

As we all know, we are now seeing the tragic consequence of another disease that has spilled over from animals into humans. Consequently, this show - specifically the ideas we ran across with regard to HIV and Typhoid fever - have been on our minds lately. So Robert and our Senior Editor Soren Wheeler called up David Quammen again to get a scientific perspective on the current Ebola outbreak.


David Quammen

Comments [6]

Leo from USA

Wait - so not letting the public health vs civil liberties questions get in the way of stopping the virus? That seems a little spooky. What exactly would that entail? Mandatory screenings? Or imprisonment? Or worse?

Dec. 22 2015 04:19 PM
bannock-hou from Houston, TX

I wish that you had more visual content on this site, I listen to you every Saturday and come here hoping to see photos of the people in your segments.

Nov. 28 2015 08:09 PM
Artis from Port Townsend, WA

Hi, I just heard your article on 'High 5'
There's a woman named Nancy Pearl (NPR "Librarian")
She use to have a commentary on KUOW Seattle
I called in once and asked which side of the car is most common in the world to drive on
Answer; Driver on the right.
The reason went back to medieval era when we had to show our right (weapon hand) to signal we weren't armed.
As we passed we would often "High-5."
Just information that came my way. Access Nancy Pearl and ask her again.

In the meantime, I'll trade you the service.
I'm a very famous spoon-player Soundgarden "Spoonman" Grammy Award-winner 1995
You Tube Artis the Spoonman. Be sure to watch the symphony piece.


Nov. 28 2015 05:15 PM
David Ewing from Venice, CA

You say the virus has mutated faster since it has entered the human population because its host population has expanded. Yet we don't know what its reservoir host is, so we don't know the size of the reservoir, nor whether its growing or shrinking. So we don't know that the human connection has expanded the host population at all.

What we do know is that we provide a different environment than the one to which the virus is accustomed. And we know, as the biologists tell us, that we are a "dead end host," because it's too lethal to us. So we as hosts exert a heightened pressure on the virus to evolve, because it can't survive for long in human populations.

Another thought comes to mind. Not only might a mutation provide it a better chance to survive, but the limited opportunities for transmission might also reduce any normative tendency of the virus population (not the host population).

Nov. 26 2015 02:32 AM
Dante Lovecraft from Orlando

This is a very informative extra on Ebola as I learned a lot about its history. I always had the impression that it was a fairly new virus, but thanks to this extra I know now that it has been around for decades. Surprisingly enough it is believed that bats are the suspected carriers.

Jan. 19 2015 10:26 PM
OJ from SC, USA

This definitely the best of your podcasts I've heard. I liked it mostly because of the depth to which you covered HIV. It was informative and piqued my curiosity even more. Thank you for such a wonderful episode

Dec. 18 2014 11:14 AM

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