Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus first identified in Tanzania in the 1950s, has now reached the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first two cases of domestic transmission in Florida last week, following ongoing outbreaks in the Caribbean. While rarely fatal, the virus can cause agonizing joint pain. Meanwhile, in the northeastern U.S., researchers have identified the potentially deadly Eastern equine encephalitis, another pathogen transmitted by mosquitoes, though the virus hasn’t resulted in any infections this year. Roxanne Rutledge Connelly, a mosquito specialist at the University of Florida, identifies which species are virus-carrying culprits, and talks about the potential for these diseases to spread.
Ebola has been responsible for many hundreds of deaths, for fear, for panic, for disbelief and anger.
And for a catchy dance song: “Ebola in Town.”
The producers behind this unlikely music are Samuel “Shadow” Morgan and Edwin “D-12” Tweh, who grew up in the shadow of war. They both spent time as kids in refugee camps in Ghana after fleeing the civil war back home in Liberia.
They made music together in the camp. Eventually they were able to move back to Monrovia, their country’s capital, where they regularly meet up with other musicians in each other’s home studios to make music together.
Back in May, Shadow, D-12 and their friend Kuzzy were hanging out at Shadow’s studio, thinking about what to do next. Someone threw out the idea of a song about Ebola. They’d heard about the disease but not many of their friends were taking it seriously. Most people, they say, thought it was a trick made up by the government as a way to make money.
Shadow and his collaborators have made music about social issues before – deadbeat dads, sanitation. And even though they weren’t sure exactly how bad Ebola was at the time, they did think that people should pay more attention to the disease.