No one is advocating for discrimination, of course, but doctors and scientists have determined that some survivors still carry the active virus in the so-called immune-privileged pockets of their bodies — places like the inner eye or testes, where antigens can survive without immune system detection — and could potentially pass it on to others. Survivors, in other words, could potentially be the source of another full-blown outbreak.

The journeys of most migratory animals, especially smaller species, are a mystery. Flocks, herds, and shoals are constantly crisscrossing the globe, but despite the intense surveillance of our planet, we often have no idea what paths they take...

patients who were treated with convalescent plasma were 12% less likely to die than were patients who didn’t get the transfusions ... it could well have been due to chance ... Some groups of patients, such as pregnant women and children under 5, did much better than expected after getting the transfusions ... Another open question is whether the transfusions would work better if doctors were sure that the plasma contained high amounts of Ebola antibodies.

Aid workers in Ebola-stricken regions could soon be using a new tool that allows aid workers to diagnose patients in under 30 minutes even when they don’t have symptoms — a tool that happens to be a 17-year old high school junior’s winning science project.

The Europeans who colonized Africa in the late 19th century were members of a culture obsessed with classifying and categorizing the natural world ... but it also led to some rather unscientific justifications for the colonial project ... Most Westerners of the time believed that people of color were “savages,” desperately in need of the benefits of modernity, Christianity and intelligence the colonists believed they were well-suited to bring to Africa.

Even before Ebola struck, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone had some of the poorest healthcare systems in the world, but the damage inflicted by the outbreak has left them more vulnerable than ever...In Guinea, WHO officials have reported a drastic increase in deaths from malaria and measles. Before the crisis, the country's annual healthcare spending stood at just $7 per person in 2013, one of the lowest rates in the world...well below the WHO's recommended minimum of $84 per person per year.

Even before Ebola hit, Liberia had just over 50 doctors for the whole country — and only one health worker, people like nurses and midwives, for every 3,400 people. Ebola has killed about 180 of those workers.

In a 1996 case in South Africa, a patient spent twelve days in a high-level hospital sick with an illness that wasn’t recognized as Ebola until after he was discharged. Some three hundred health-care workers took care of him. None contracted the disease. A 1995 study of a Congo outbreak looked at seventy-eight household members who lived with patients with Ebola who did not directly touch them or their fluids after they became sick. Again, none contracted the disease.

The epidemic has sickened about 21,000 people and killed more than 8,000 of them, the World Health Organization said this week, but there are signs that the epidemic may be coming under control as more treatment centers are built and safer burial practices are used. Still, the evidence is far from conclusive, and experts are mindful that the outbreak surged again last year after the authorities thought it was ebbing.