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Ebola's Curse - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128138885, 9780128138892

Ebola's Curse

1st Edition

2013-2016 Outbreak in West Africa

Authors: Michael Oldstone Madeleine Oldstone
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128138885
eBook ISBN: 9780128138892
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 21st July 2017
Page Count: 126
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Ebola‘s Curse: 2013-2016 Outbreak in West Africa is about hemorrhagic fever viruses, especially Ebola, its initial origin in central Africa 1976, its unprecedented appearance in West Africa in 2013. The book records in sequence and detective style how the initial outbreak of Ebola from the index case in rural Guinea traveled to Sierra Leone, the work and fate of those working in the Kenema Government Hospital (KGH) isolation ward in Sierra Leone. The book provides vignettes of the three main players involved with Ebola at KGH, Sheik Khan, Pardis Sabeti, and Robert Garry.

Khan was the head of the unit, declared a national hero by his Sierra Leone government. He died fighting Ebola and was/is recognized in the USA by American societies by awards created for his historic work and death. Pardis Sabeti, a geneticist from Harvard and Broad MIT Institute, who was honored as a "Scientist of the Year" by Time Magazine and the Smithsonian Institute. Robert Garry, head of the operation to fight hemorrhagic fevers and Ebola, shuttled between Tulane University, KGH, and The White House to make aware through the press and others the dilemma and tragedy that was unfolding, and the need to obtain additional medical and health care support and supplies. Sabeti and Garry currently work with Oldstone on Ebola at KGH and thus personal communication and knowledge was/is available to the author for the book.

Key Features

  • Includes perspectives from the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa
  • Provides a detailed overview of the origins of Ebola virus through present day discoveries
  • Written with an integrative approach, incorporating scientific research with insights from the field on Public Health and Medical History


(Under)graduate students and Researchers in virology, microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology and public health

Table of Contents

1. Ebola's Origin: A Limited but Devastating Viral Hemorrhagic Disease of Central Africa
2. Ebola's Unanticipated Arrival in West Africa
3. Kenema Government Hospital: From Lassa to Ebola
4. Sheik Humarr Khan: Leading the Fight Against Ebola in Sierra Leone at Kenema Government Hospital
5. ZMapp: The Ethics of Decision Making
6. Robert Garry: Managing the Effort to Curtail Ebola's Curse
7. Pardis Sabeti: Geneticist Tracking Ebola's Travels and Changing Profile
8. Ebola's Curse: Impact on the Economics of West Africa
9. Ebola's Scorecard: Failure of the WHO and the International Community


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2018
21st July 2017
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Authors

Michael Oldstone

Michael B.A. Oldstone, is world known for his contributions studying viruses and how they cause disease (election to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine and other National and International bodies, as well as recipient of multiple awards by international and national societies). He has lectured at multiple universities on the topic of Ebola and on hemorrhagic African fevers. He has authored several books. His last one, "Viruses, Plagues, & History" had favorable reviews in the lay press (NY Times Book Review, Nation, multiple newspapers and magazines in the US and in Europe, NPR interviews and profiles, etc.) and favorable reviews by the highest scientific journals (Science, Nature, etc.). The book was translated into five additional languages, elicited book signings, invited talks at museums and book stores, and sold over 45,000 copies. Further, the book was used and still is for teaching in several undergraduate colleges, graduate, and medical schools. Thus, name recognition of the author and the product delivered reflected both high standards and wide recognition.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, USA

Madeleine Oldstone

Madeleine Rose Oldstone is a graduate of the College of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University. Her interest and commitment is to world health problems, policy, and diplomacy.

Affiliations and Expertise

Graduate of the College of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University


"Ebola’s Curse is a remarkable account of the Ebola fever epidemic that gripped West Africa from 2013-2016. The authors bring with them unrivaled expertise in the biology of viruses and diplomacy, policy and social issues, which are used to masterfully intertwine the medical, scientific, political and social dimensions of the outbreak. This book could be useful in medical and scientific ethic courses for it contains several vignettes detailing how difficult decisions were made while providing considerable background to understand the ethical choices involved. The book provides a detailed analysis of the economic costs of the epidemic to West Africa, which also serves to remind us of how infectious diseases can derail economic growth. Ebola’s Curse is required reading for all interested in the intersection of infectious diseases, medicine, science, government and society, and its messages could help us avoid the next epidemic, if we internalize them." --Arturo Casadevall, MD, MS, PhD, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA

"Ebola’s Curse is a unique book. The manuscript recounts the story of Ebola virus infection since 1976, when it was identified and distinguished from the clinically similar hemorrhagic fever caused by Lassa virus. How politics helped to shape epidemics, and sometimes led to fatalities is a fascinating and exciting part of the manuscript, which often reads like a scientific detective story involving bats, burials, and the tragic failure of the scientists to be able to convince the African public of the potential infectious dangers of a number of their long-standing cultural practices, particularly those surrounding death and burial. Similarly the complex analysis of the failures of many world agencies and organizations, and countries to deal with the Ebola crisis early so that the devastation could have been controlled is explained. The world must learn from this experience in order to prevent it from happening again." --Anne A. Gershon, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, USA

"The devastating Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa between 2014-16 demonstrated the woeful inadequacy of the world’s ability to deal with dangerous new and emerging pathogens. Dr. Michael Oldstone, a leading viral immunologist, and his granddaughter, Madeline Rose Oldstone, have now written an engaging account of this epidemic. In only 100 pages, they have covered the history, epidemiology, virology, immunology, clinical aspects, medical ethics and economics of this epidemic, and have added personal vignettes about some key individuals involved in Ebola investigations, including Drs. Robert Garry, Pardis Sabeti, and Sheik Humar Khan, the latter of whom paid with his life for his heroic efforts fighting the virus. In the final chapter, the Oldstones make several suggestions for improving efforts to control the next international epidemic, whether it be from Ebola virus or another emerging pathogen. Another such epidemic will come; this interesting book may help us be better prepared when it does." --Martin Hirsch, MD, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, USA

"This is an interesting and enjoyable narrative that delivers, in readable prose, an unusual mix of science, history, human interest and policy related to the recent Ebola outbreak. Humanity clearly has a lot to learn about such outbreaks, their human toll and the dedicated individuals who risk their lives to help others in terrible need. The book clearly enunciates many of the key issues, often via the personal stories of those involved. I think that this work will stand the test of time for students of the issues of infection and humanity's response to epidemic disease. The stories of the dedicated people at the forefront of the response to this virulent threat to humanity will make the book accessible and valuable (and enjoyable!) for a broader audience." --Herbert W. Virgin IV, MD, PhD, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Professor of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine

Ratings and Reviews