Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe says his story starts in 1973. He had just gotten his Ph.D. at the Rega Institute in Belgium. He could have stayed in Europe, but he decided to return to Congo, or what was then known as Zaire, which had only recently attained independence from Belgium. He took a job as a field epidemiologist. In 1976, he was called to an outbreak of a mysterious disease in central Congo.
Predicting where Ebola might strike next could become easier, thanks to a new computer model. The model tracks how changes in the environment and in human societies could affect the deadly virus’s spread. It predicts that Ebola outbreaks could become as much as 60 percent more likely by 2070 if the world continues on a path toward a warmer climate and a cooling economy.
Karin Huster encounters death up close, and repeatedly.
She has seen babies perish in their mothers’ arms. She has watched people grieve as their loved ones were buried in white body bags drenched in bleach. She has survived a clinic where she worked being attacked, burned and shot at.
“It’s the best job in the world,” she says. “And I don’t mean this lightly.”
The global health community needs the humility to acknowledge that we have failed once again in an Ebola epidemic, say Karin Huster and Justin Healy
Before reaching her current position of Field Coordinator with Doctors Without Borders, Karin Huster was a Registered Nurse and an MPH student at the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health. Working alongside professors , Huster gathered a multitude of skills that she’s used to advance her career. In addition to her wide-ranging field work, Huster is a regular writer and contributor to radio shows and podcasts.
While promising vaccines and experimental treatments are rapidly being added to our arsenal, they’re not much use if people are too afraid to seek care.
By Karin Huster, Clinical Instructor, UW Department of Global Health and field coordinator with Doctors Without Borders.
By Kieran Guilbert
West Africa is most at risk of fatal haemorrhagic fever epidemics, including Ebola, researchers said on Wednesday, calling for greater preparedness to save lives.
A study in The Lancet medical journal assessed the likelihood of four viruses - Ebola, Lassa, Marburg and Crimean-Congo - spreading on the continent, charting progress from a first human case through to a potential pandemic.
By Catherine Cheney
“West Africa is sitting on a ticking time bomb,” Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s minister of health, said at Global Health: Next Decade, Next Generation, an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington, her alma mater.
"We all learned a lot of lessons from the Ebola outbreak. At least one lesson that we have learned is that an epidemic... could quickly become a pandemic," she said.
Though the West African Ebola outbreak that began in 2013 is now under control, 23 countries remain environmentally suitable for animal-to-human transmission of the Ebola virus. Only seven of these countries have experienced cases of Ebola, leaving the remaining 16 countries potentially unaware of regions of suitability, and therefore underprepared for future outbreaks.
By Karin Huster, MPH ('14)
This month marks two years since the first Ebola cases were confirmed in Guinea. The time has come for recollection and reflection, frank opinions and lessons learned. What did we do well? What should we have done differently? What has Ebola taught us? I spent 6 weeks in Liberia, 4 1/2 months in Sierra Leone, and 6 months in Guinea during the epidemic, working with Ebola patients and focusing on strategies to fight the disease. These thoughts come from the experiences that I had working in the field.