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What we know (and don't know) about Ebola - Alex Gendler

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The highly virulent Ebola virus has seen a few major outbreaks since it first appeared in 1976 -- with the worst epidemic occurring in 2014. How does the virus spread, and what exactly does it do to the body? Alex Gendler details what Ebola is and why it's so hard to study.

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TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Animator Andrew Foerster
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Interested in the history of Ebola virus, the search for a cure, and survivor stories? Ebola Deeply has everything you want to know about Ebola. Visit the Reading Room for links to even more information that you might be interested in. Ebola Fast Facts at CNN lets you see pictures of what is happening in regard to the Ebola crisis and a timeline of the outbreak. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides a quick fact summary about Ebola including maps and links to current articles on the topic. Here, you will find a worldwide perspective on the epidemic. How does Ebola spread? How can you protect yourself? For more on these topics, visit the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

How exactly does Ebola cause death? NPR’s Blog post: How Ebola Kills You: It's Not the Virus gives the answer to this question. Stay at this site and click Morning Edition’s audio file: The Dread Factor: Why Ebola and Contagion Scares Us So Much. Are people really that influenced by movies? Have movies had any influence on how you feel about disasters?

Why is there no vaccine for Ebola? How close are we to providing a vaccine to people? How were some people cured of Ebola? Read the Scientific American article: Ebola Doctor Reveals How Infected Americans Were Cured. What was the experimental serum that allowed these patients to recover? Will it soon be available to everyone?

How many patients have been treated for Ebola outside of Africa? What is being done to feed people during this outbreak? For answers to these questions and much more, visit the New York Times.

Interested in how plagues and diseases spread so readily? Visit these TED-Ed Lessons for more information:
Mysteries of vernacular: Quarantine: Jessica Oreck and Rachel Teel
The past, present and future of the bubonic plague: Sharon N. DeWitte

The statistics on measles, malaria, influenza, and Ebola came from the following sources:
The measles number cited comes from World Health Organization figures, which indicates 145,700 deaths worldwide in 2013.
The malaria number cited comes from CDC figures, which indicates 660,000 deaths worldwide in 2010.
The influenza number cited comes from World Health Organization estimates, which indicates 250,000-500,000 deaths worldwide annually.
The Ebola number cited comes from World Health Organization figures, which indicates 5,459 deaths as of November 18, 2014. The death toll for 2014 is mounting.

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About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Animator Andrew Foerster
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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