This article outlines a research program for an anthropology of viral hemorrhagic fevers (collectively known as VHFs). It begins by reviewing the social science literature on Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa fevers and charting areas for future ethnographic attention. We theoretically elaborate the hotspot as a way of integrating analysis of the two routes of VHF infection: from animal reservoirs to humans and between humans.
Drawing together recent anthropological investigations of human–animal entanglements with an ethnographic interest in the social production of space, we seek to enrich conceptualizations of viral movement by elaborating the circumstances through which viruses, humans, objects, and animals come into contact. We suggest that attention to the material proximities—between animals, humans, and objects—that constitute the hotspot opens a frontier site for critical and methodological development in medical anthropology and for future collaborations in VHF management and control.download