Interview with Hans G. Andersson, Editor, Outbreak

What were your motivations for working on OUTBREAK?

I'm a journalist and former filmmaker. I've been focusing on health and environmental issues since I was 17-18 years old.

I prefer to work with questions that are challenging and not always comfortable. When I started to write about Ebola I was quite scared. I'm still having a healthy respect for Ebola, but I'm not that scared any more.

I believe that it's important to cover emerging infectious diseases, and to inform people about health threats and risks in a responsible way.

What do you think of the media's coverage of Ebola and Marburg?

Well, I don't like it, except for Laurie Garrett and a few others that are doing a really good job.

I think the media's coverage of Ebola and Marburg is as bad as the coverage of Bill Clinton's "sex affairs". It's a focus on sensation and surface.

I don't like media story's with headlines like "The Killer Virus Is Here!", and the method to put "lethal" and "deadly" in front of the words virus and bacteria every time you mention them.

I think the infectious disease reality is serious enough. We don't need exaggerations here.

Where do you think future research on these viruses should go?

1. Finding the reservoir.

2. Finding a cure or a vaccine.

3. More basic knowledge about how these viruses works.

I think the CDC, USAMRIID, Pasteur Institute and WHO are doing an excellent job, often with very limited resources. I also admire the researchers behind the new experimental vaccine.