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Race and the immuno-logics of Ebola response in West Africa

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On September 14, 2014, I woke up to the news that a fourth Sierra Leonean doctor, Dr. Olivet Buck, had died after having treated patients with Ebola. By then, there had been nearly 2,300 confirmed deaths, with about 150 of them being health care workers at the front line of the epidemic. All Ebola deaths are tragic, and many of …

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An Emerging Infectious Disease Perspective, Inter Alia

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As the saying goes, ‘there are no good models, only useful ones’. Tell a disease modeler that, and they might shake their head, interrupting to correct you – “only elegant ones”. And Hufnagel et al’s (2004) influential disease simulation, now ten years old, is quite elegant indeed. Published following the emergence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in

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Notes from Case Zero: Anthropology in the time of Ebola

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The lead for a story on the Ebola outbreak is, by now, familiar: on the 22nd of March, the Guinean Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Ebola, the first ever in the region. The virus has since spread through the countryside and across its borders: west to Sierra Leone, south to Liberia, and most recently, north into Senegal. Cases …

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Climate Change and Planetary Health

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Five years ago, the University College London Commission concluded that climate change is the biggest threat to human health in the 21st century. Health has entered a new epoch in which environmental factors, under adverse human influence, must become the focus worldwide.  This recognition sparked the planetary health initiative, spearheaded by The Lancet, which is motivated by acceptance …

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New series: Climate change and health

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Climate change and human health is a topic of growing popularity and urgency in the public health community. In its draft twelfth working program the WHO repeatedly links climate change to negative health impacts, and the working group II report of the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report dedicates a chapter to the effects of climate change …

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Encounters of Violence and Care: Central American Transit Migration through Mexico

A polarized emphasis on origin and destination in international migration studies has left the process of transit itself relatively under-theorized. Taking transit as a site of inquiry moves us as migration scholars beyond the binaries of push/pull factors and origin/destination countries. As medical anthropologists, we are interested in the analytical implications of studying zones of transit for the way we …