The Ebola Epidemic

The Fight, The Future

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

An ordinary blue thermos holding blood samples from a sick nun in Zaire reached Belgium’s Institute of Tropical Medicine in September 1976. From the samples, researchers discovered a new virus, which they named the Ebola virus after a river in Central Africa. The virus killed two hundred eighty people before it seemingly disappeared into the jungle. No one suspected the virus would erupt in West Africa nearly four decades later to cause an unprecedented epidemic.

Ebola has riveted—and terrified—the world since its reemergence from the jungle, killing more than eleven thousand people in West Africa since December 2013. Transmitted through bodily fluids—blood, saliva, sweat, vomit, feces, and semen—the disease causes high fever, widespread pain, nausea and vomiting, and severe diarrhea. Patients may develop dangerous bleeding and organ failure. With no effective treatment available, about 40 percent of infected people die within days. Using proper protective gear, safe burial protocols, cleansing techniques, and educational outreach, the disease has been slowed in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone—at least temporarily.

Can researchers develop vaccines quickly enough to prevent new outbreaks? Will Ebola move beyond West Africa? Readers will hear from Ebola survivors, learn what experts say about this devastating disease, and draw their own conclusions about whether another epidemic can be prevented.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Science, Young Adult
Category STEM, STEM: Life Science/Health and Human Body
Copyright 2016
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 112
Publication Date 2016-01-01
Reading Counts! Level 10.6
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS YAN024030, YAN038020, YAN050060
Dewey 614.5'7
Dimensions 7 x 9
Lexile 1160
ATOS Reading Level 8.6
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 179549
Accelerated Reader® Points 4.0
Features Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Index, Maps, Reviewed, Source notes, Starred Reviews, and Table of contents

Author: Connie Goldsmith

Connie Goldsmith is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a master of public administration degree in health care. She has written numerous books for YA readers and nearly two hundred magazine articles. Her recent books include Kiyo Sato: From a WWII Japanese Internment Camp to a Life of Service (2020), a Junior Library Guild selection; Running on Empty: Sleeplessness in American Teens (2021); Understanding Coronaviruses: SARS, MERS, and the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021); and Bombs Over Bikini: The World's First Nuclear Disaster (2014), a Junior Library Guild selection, a Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, an Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California Distinguished Book, and an SCBWI Crystal Kite Winner. She lives in Sacramento, California. Visit her website at


School Library Journal

“Goldsmith, a health care practitioner and experienced science writer . . . is clear and direct—compelling without resorting to sensationalism. . . . It is safe to say that all libraries currently lack up-to-date material on Ebola. Those looking to rectify the situation . . . should add this title.”—School Library Journal


“Though it doesn’t make light of the very real and devastating effects Ebola can have on families and entire communities, this is also careful not to contribute to sensationalism. . . . A solid, valuable look at a still-mysterious illness and a tumultuous time in recent history.”—Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“[A] crisp and informative book. . . . Goldsmith, a veteran health/science writer, knows how to invest readers in her story . . . [and] delivers science in a serious yet welcoming tone. . . . An arresting, illuminating, and unlikely-to-be-forgotten story.”—starred, Kirkus Reviews