Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic

Outbreak Culture: The Ebola Crisis and the Next Epidemic

by Pardis Sabeti, Lara Salahi


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An award-winning genetic researcher who helped contain the Ebola outbreak and a prize-winning journalist reveal what it will take to prevent the next pandemic from spiraling out of control.

As we saw with our response to Ebola and Zika—and are seeing now with the disastrous early handling of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak—a lack of preparedness, delays in action, and large-scale system-wide problems with the distribution of critical medical resources can result in lost lives.

Outbreak Culture examines each phase of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa—one of the largest and deadliest epidemics to date—and identifies factors that prevented key information from reaching physicians. Drawing insights from clinical workers, data collectors, organizational experts, and public health researchers, Pardis Sabeti and Lara Salahi expose a fractured system that failed to gather and share knowledge of the virus and ensure timely containment. The authors describe how much more could have been done by global medical and political organizations to safeguard the well-being of caregivers, patients, and communities affected by this devastating outbreak and they outline changes that are urgently needed to ensure a more effective coordinated response to the next epidemic.

Secrecy, competition, and poor coordination plague nearly every major public health crisis—and we are seeing their deadly consequences play out again. A work of fearless integrity and unassailable authority, Outbreak Culture seeks to change the culture of responders.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674976115
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/26/2018
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Pardis Sabeti is Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. A member of the Broad Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Sabeti was named a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, a National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer, and one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015. She is also the recipient of an NIH New Innovator Award and a Richard Lounsbery Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Lara Salahi is an award-winning journalist and television producer for multiple outlets, including ABC News. She was part of the team at the Boston Globe awarded a 2014 Pulitzer Prize for its exhaustive and empathetic coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. Salahi is Assistant Professor of Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Endicott College.

Table of Contents

Acronyms and Abbreviations ix

Preface xi

Map of West Africa xix

Prologue: The People's Fighter 1

1 Setting for Disaster 21

2 The Crucible of Outbreak Response 37

3 The Case for Collaboration 62

4 The Wavering Response 84

5 Distrust in a Culture of Compassion 102

6 Epidemic of Fear 124

7 Investment and Accountability 142

8 Ebola's Fallout 163

9 Navigating the Next Epidemic 179

Epilogue 202

Notes 209

Acknowledgments 241

Index 243

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