Public Health in the Age of Ebola in West Africa




Osterholm MT, Moore KA, Gostin LO

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JAMA Internal Medicine




The world is witnessing the unprecedented unfolding of the West African Ebola epidemic. The epidemic could have major ramifications for global public health in ways that no other modern infectious disease has, perhaps including AIDS, and can be viewed as a “Black Swan” event. What we call here a Black Swan (and capitalize it) is an event with the following three attributes. First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expecta- tions, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme “impact.” Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable. [from introduction]


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