Dying to Preserve Life: the Risks of Fighting Ebola

The Ebola outbreak in Africa is an unprecedented epidemic of one of the world’s deadliest viruses. Doctors and scientists are working furiously to try to stem the tide of the epidemic, by putting measures in place to prevent infection, isolating and treating those who have been infected and attempting to develop more effective treatments.

A paper published in Science two days ago analyzed the genetic data of the 2014 Ebola patients and concluded that the 2014 outbreak can be traced back to one individual who was infected from the “natural reservoir” of the Ebola virus, which is to say, the natural host of the Ebola virus. The paper ends with this:

In memoriam: Tragically, five co-authors, who contributed greatly to public health and research efforts in Sierra Leone, contracted EVD in the course of their work and lost their battle with the disease before this manuscript could be published. We wish to honor their memory.

Science, sometimes, is dangerous.