“National boundaries are not respected by infectious diseases”: Chikwe Ihekweazu on the Ebola epidemic at TEDGlobal 2014

TED Blog

Chikwe Ihekweazu speaks at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: Ryan Lash/Ryan Chikwe Ihekweazu speaks at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Ten years ago, epidemiologist Chikwe Ihekweazu helped fight an outbreak in South Sudan. This TED Fellow now runs the health consultancy EpiAFRIC, writes about public health issues in his native Nigeria, and is soon to start a four-week rotation on the ground fighting the Ebola epidemic. So as the outbreak continues, he sat down for a Q&A with Chris Anderson in Session 11 to give insights into what is happening and how concerned we all should be.

The first question: Can we get the scientific overview of what Ebola is and how it makes people sick?

Ihekweazu gives the disconcerting answer that, unlike some other viruses, we don’t know what the natural host is for Ebola. We do, however, know that in humans it is passed through contact with bodily fluids. We know that the disease has an incubation period…

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