Before Ebola: Dispatches from a Deadly Outbreak by Peter Apps
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a very short book about the Marburg outbreak in Northern Angola in 2005. Marburg is a hemorrhagic diseas that is even more deadly than Ebola and the period between onset and death is very short.
It does not go into the medical aspects of the virus or the source of this particular outbreak. It is about the everyday life that surrounds an outbreak of this kind and the lengths a reporter has to go to inform the world. Usually we just see the story and video clips about sick and dying, but this is what goes into that report. Somehow this made a bigger impact on me than the medical aspects. Apps describes the problems of getting into such an area when most means of transportation refuse to have anything to do with the area. It describes the hotels with no more beds, the arduous task of reporting and the stories under these conditions and of some of the aids workers who chose to stay and work with patients.
In passing, he tells of a woman who was sick with Marburg. As soon as her husband saw that she had the virus, he got himself and all the children out and locked the door from the outside. He was doing exactly what doctors recommend, but he will never recover from the sounds of his wife all alone and crying for help. I found that one story, probably enacted all over Africa, almost more terrifying than the disease itself.
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