Background Examining press coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, this article analyzes the work of the hazmat suit as a visual signifier of disease. Analysis Hazmat imagery from Africa operated to make the disease visible, both "othering" it and contributing to fantasies of containment. In American imagery, the suit became a figure of biosecurity and reassurance, while also connoting the prospect of American "diseaseability." Conclusion and implications African hazmat imagery reinforced pre-existing schema for understanding Ebola within a news category while American imagery straddled the boundary between the geography of disease fear and the imagined immunological community, potentially destabilizing press narratives of reassurance.

Biosecurity, Ebola, Geography of disease, Hazmat suit, Photojournalism, Press coverage
Canadian Journal of Communication
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Gerlach, N. (2019). Visualizing Ebola: Hazmat suit imagery, the press, and the production of biosecurity. Canadian Journal of Communication, 44(2), 191–210. doi:10.22230/cjc.2019v44n2a3341