The first episode of Viral focuses on Ebola, the "superbowl" of infectious diseases and the one that brought Jena and Dr. Adalja together. They explain how they met, why they wanted to start the podcast and what made the Ebola outbreak of 2014 a particularly devastating case study to understand the level of international preparedness in terms of infectious diseases, or lack thereof. The episode also features an interview with Ashoka Mukpo, the NBC camera man who contracted Ebola in West Africa as well as an interesting conversation on eyeballs.
In episode 2 of Viral, Jena and Amesh discuss Lyme Disease. This tick-borne infection is unique and controversial in that there is large population who believe they suffer from “chronic Lyme” which most infectious disease physicians, including Amesh, dispute the existence of. The episode’s featured guest is former Real World Seattle cast member Irene McGee who is a Lyme Disease patient and advocate.
In episode 3 of Viral, Jena and Amesh discuss HIV. This infectious disease is one of the most prolific infectious disease killers of humans in history. The episode’s featured guest is HIV patient, advocate, and comedian Shawn Decker who has been positive since childhood.