This illustration depicted a three-dimensional (3D), computer-generated image, of a group of aerobic, Gram-negative, Bordetella pertussis bacteria. The artistic recreation was based upon scanning electron microscopic (SEM) imagery. (Source: CDC/Sarah Bailey Cutchin PHIL ID# 22874)

Let me tell you about how I got whooping cough. Actually, I don’t know how I got it. I just started feeling unwell one day, almost unnoticeably. I had a very low-grade fever and general malaise, but it lasted for a few weeks, so I made an appointment with a doctor. I had moved to Washington State six months before, and I didn’t yet have a GP. By the time my appointment came around, I had been coughing sometimes in the evening, coughing fits that were uncomfortable but not alarming. I was seen by a woman who took my temperature…


Hundreds of thousands of people across North America and Europe are infected with Lyme disease every year. No Lyme vaccine is currently available.

Photo by Norayr Grigoryan on Unsplash

On a hot and humid Sunday early in the summer of 2007, I made a seemingly harmless decision to sit down on a park bench in the shade. I was seven months pregnant and my back was getting tired, so it seemed a sensible thing to do. We were in the Englischer Garten, a park in the center of Munich, larger than Central Park and full of grassy fields, centuries-old trees, two beer gardens, a lake, and…


How students, parents, and teachers are adjusting and coping.

If your children are doing remote learning right now, they aren’t alone. Currently, 90% of the world’s children are at home, learning or trying to learn remotely, many for the first time. Formal classroom learning has been the standard in most countries for up to two hundred years, and suddenly we are being thrown into a crisis remote-learning experiment. …


In coming to terms with a new normal, people across the world are at different stages of a new series of emotions: The Nine Stages of Pandemic Emotion.

1. Denial

· It won’t happen to us/me. (Perceived self risk/susceptibility is low).

· It’s far away (I’ve never been there).

· We are cleaner than the people of [source country of epidemic].

· It’s not really that bad (“the flu kills more people”).

· My friends/family/parents don’t seem to be worried, so why should I (peer influence).

· This is political propaganda to interfere with the elections.

2. Doubt

· It probably won’t happen here…

Saskia E. Akyil

Fiction and Science Writer — just not science fiction.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store