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History Through Pulitzer: “Ebola Ravages West Africa”

Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Pulitzer Prize-winning photo taken by Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times on September 5, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. The photo is titled “Ebola Ravages West Africa.”

by Ali Khan, M.D

“Fear. I know it well. It was also my reaction as I took care of patients in a treatment ward with only simple personal protective equipment when I first started about 20 years ago. The heat fogging my goggles, sweat running down my face, trying to draw blood in a dimly lit ward from a child who was also afraid.  This fear is almost palpable in this picture of the individuals hauling a child to the treatment center. I can sense it in the child too weak to move, ripped from his family to an uncertain fate. Fear of the unseen, the invisible, our coming death. A microscopic pathogen terrorizing a community where anyone could be the next victim with a kiss or sneeze. Yes, Ebola tests our compassion, but it has failed to break the bond of our common humanity. You see that emerging hope in the 2 brave healthcare workers all donned in their gear ready to heal. We will come together to respond, beat the demon microbe back to the bush, and revel again in the joys of living.”


Ali Khan, M.D., Dean UNMC College of Public Health

To learn more about Dr. Khan, visit


The “Pulitzer Prize Photographs” exhibition is on display at The Durham Museum from February 22 – through May 3, 2020. The exhibit features the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever assembled and was developed by the Newseum.

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