Dr. Jenna Capyk joins us to discuss the lighter and darker side of ebola. Spoiler alert: it’s mostly dark. Plus news and pop culture, plus Lesser of Two Evils: ebola versus serving on a slave ship.

Music: “Fever” by Little Willie John


27 Responses

  1. Keen episode guys and Dr. Jenna! Loved the pause and crickets chirping after Project X 🙂

    :Mr Burns style glower at Kevin for ‘Phagocytes’:

    Around 15 years ago, a woman returning from Zaire collapsed at Perth airport and initially was thought to possibly have Ebola virus. I was ready to grab my loved ones and 5 years of canned goods drive into the middle of the Nullabor Plain, but it turned out to be just the flu. Probably because there was no monkey involved.

    Hantavirus, Lassa Virus, Hendra Virus and Marburg all that Haemorrhagic Fever like Ebola. They and Ebola are called Retroviruses- and not just because they all wear flares, string ties and feathered hair.

    OUTBREAK’s Ebola-like virus was airborne as well as from fluids, hence the President authorizing the bombing of the town. This was also the first movie I saw in which Patrick Dempsey was hot 🙂

    The rather dodgy series THE BURNING ZONE had an outbreak of Ebola on a plane mid-flight. The bio-team, who were on the plane, managed to synthesize a cure… from lipstick. My eyes were rolling pretty much continuously throughout.

  2. Guys, I love your show, but I must come to the defense of the noble word “Sluice”. Caustic it may be, but I have found at least one positive aspect of it: a sluice box is a tool used for mining gold by old-timey prospectors in the 19th century, and they’re a neat example of applied physics.

    A sluice box makes use of the weight and density of gold by collecting dirt, grit, and gold along ridges at the bottom of an inclined box, while the water “sluices” along above it, carrying even more gold into the ridges and washing away lighter grit and dirt. Large industrialized versions are still in use today!

    (Hey…how about a gold mining episode of Caustic Soda? There’s tons of interesting material about gold rushes out there.)

  3. So what exactly is the shelf life on farts? When are they considered stale? I thought they dispersed. Inquiring Minds Want to Know!

  4. My comment on the slave rowing ship too is that if the ship goes down, you go down with it…

  5. Hey guys,

    Great show today. I have been listening for a while, and I keep meaning to recommend a series of books to you. This episode reminded me to finally do it. There are 3 books thus far in the series by Dennis DiClaudio, and they are (in order of my favorite to least favorite):

    The Hypochondriac’s Pocket Guide to Horrible Diseases You Probably Already Have
    The Paranoid’s Pocket Guide to Mental Disorders You Can Just Feel Coming On
    The Deviant’s Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Desires Barely Contained in Your Subconscious

    You have discussed many of the disorders from these books in your podcasts, and there may be ideas for more episodes. If not for the podcast, the tone is sure to amuse.


    1. Sean,

      I’m stealing you book recommendations for my own selfish ends. MWAAHAHA!


  6. great episode

    after reading the book “the hot zone” by richard preston i became freaked out by ebola and the other viruses mentioned in it for quite some time. i’m sure some or a lot of the information in the book is out of date, but if anyone wants a good read about tracking the virus leaving africa and ending up in the suburb of reston west virgina and just how the CDC went in to decontaminate, i highly recommend. it reads like a gripping fiction, not a true story.

    way better than that POS outbreak. (which was a ripoff book, which was the one of course optioned to make the movie.)

  7. Thoroughly enjoying a double Dr Jenna Capyk fix today as I’m listening to the Leprosy episode again for an argument – both are awesome episodes, fascinating , educational and revolting all in one. I’d buy one of the “why doesn’t anyone ever release the control monkey” t-shirt, btw.

    Nice update to the iTunes feed icon too. Very swish. Come to think of it, that on a t-shirt would be really cool too.

  8. Great show guys! Great to have Dr. Jenna back.

    Those photos are eerie! Imagine how you would feel if you were sick and the people looking after you in hospital were wearing full hazmat suits, including GOGGLES AND RUBBER BOOTS???? I would freak out, especially if they said “everything’s going to be alright”!!!!

  9. Can I recommend the excellent “The Hot Zone” book to anyone interested in this subject? Ir chronicles several different outbreaks of Ebola, including the Reston, Virginia outbreak that was basically from a movie.

    Infected monkeys escaping rooms, covert ops by civilians to enter and sterilize the facility…evidence the Ebola had gone airborne.

    The thing about the Reston outbreak is that the fever was spectacularly lethal in the exposed monkeys — but though several human contacted the virus and went mildly symptotic…they didn’t get die. One of the guys from the CDC said of the outbreak “We didn’t dodge a bullet. The bullet hit us. It was just a rubber bullet from a .22.”

  10. Listened to “Ebola” today and as usual a great hour of edutainment…

    Here is a suggestion for a future podcast: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or Mad Cow. This horrid wasting is caused by something even smaller than a virus, a prion (a misfolded protein form).

    Very interesting stuff

  11. Hey guys,
    A few years ago (six, seven years now), when I was living in Uganda, there was an Ebola epidemic in the west of the country, towards the Congo border. Needless to say, it was in the headlines non-stop for a month straight. Now, one of the unfortunate victims of the virus managed to get onto a mutatu (a Ugandan minibus, carries around fourteen passengers) and travelled for seven hours in VERY close contact with the others, thus spreading the virus.
    This minibus was heading towards the capital, Kampala, and managed to get there, with 16 infected (driver, patient zero, and the 14 unlucky passengers). By the time the news broke that Ebola had been found in Kampala, every FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. It was almost a city-wide quarantine, with the odd person braving the empty city.
    Now, if my memory serves, the virus was effectively quarantined in the city, and stopped.

    Also, a side-note: Out towards the Uganda-Congo border, when they quarantined the victims in small towns, the uninfected rioted, and broke all the windows to the medical station, making the station a lot less safe for everyone involved.

  12. Hello chaps,
    I saw a link to pandemic, which I am not familiar with, byte
    I am familiar with Pandemic 2, a delightful game you can find on addictinggames.com. In this one, you attempt to wipe out earths human population with your choice of infectant, including virus and bacteria! Actually hard to beat, those pesky humans come up with anti virus and shut down their airports! Very caustic.

    Keep up the good work boys! You too Jenna!

    Your Faithful Soda Jerk,
    Sean Quixote

    1. I managed to wipe out humanity in the first pandemic. But in the second one, it seems impossible because there is always some island nation that shuts down all transportation. Clearly they don’t live in a Jurassic Park universe.

  13. Here’s an interesting sidebar: there was a comic prequel setting up the events for the movie 28 Days Later. Throughout the movie it’s referred to as being infected with rage, but the comic explains that it is actually a reprogrammed Ebola virus that mutated.

  14. I’m a little under half-way through (haven’t gotten to the Reston incident yet, so maybe this gets brought up). But I guess I’ll be that guy. Ebola sounds awful. But there are other awful diseases, no? It’s just that this one got a lot of press in the 1990s for several reasons: a book and then movie, a 1990s where other global threats (nuclear war) stopped being as scary, and lets’ admit it, significant fear of Africa that has long roots in mostly European culture, but really cropped up in the 1990s with the rapid succession of Somalia’s disintegration, then the Black Hawk Down incident, the Rwandan genocide and subsequent wars, and finally the twin embassy attacks in 1998. And above all else, I think a case could be made that Ebola scared people not so much because of itself, but in addition to the reasons above, because of AIDS. I suspect for a lot of people in North America, it was really the scary aspects of AIDS finally percolating into their worlds, if they didn’t know anyone who had contracted HIV. Sort of a 1-2 punch.

    Doesn’t mean it isn’t episode worthy, and I’m certainly leaning some listening (and I had some laugh out loud moments, starting with EEBOOLLAAAA). It’s kind of like Jack the Ripper. He wasn’t the first serial killer (though he arguably was the first seen that way, just as Ebola was the first seriously taken-by-the-masses pandemic world-ender possibility of the modern era), nor the worst. But he’s still such a subject of interest he deserves to be addressed.