The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus

128 pages

English language

Published Sept. 10, 2014 by W. W. Norton & Company.

OCLC Number:

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4 stars (1 review)

In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola’s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen first came near the virus while he was traveling in the jungles of Gabon, accompanied by local men whose village had been devastated by a recent outbreak. Here he tells the story of Ebola―its past, present, and its unknowable future.

Extracted from Spillover by David Quammen, updated and with additional material.

1 edition

An easy to read and solid book about Ebola

4 stars

David Quammen wrote a really good book with "Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus" by managing to make Ebola's discovery and research history interesting through countless anecdotes (both from him and from interviews he did) but also by keeping it grounded in facts and research through really good scientific explanations. it describes the history of Ebola from its discovery in 1976 to the Ebola crisis in 2014 (time at which the book was published), through the different crisis and following closely the different scientific discoveries. After a few chapters, the question to solve is "what is this Ebola reservoir that keep leading to new Ebola's cases?" and it is hard to stop reading until we get a first idea of what it could be. The only regret with this book is that it stops in 2014 and I would have loved to read an updated book …


  • Epidemics
  • Ebola virus disease
  • Popular works
  • History