Science – 9 January 2015 vol 347, issue 6218

9 January 2015 vol 347, issue 6218, pages 101-208

On the trail of contagion
Kai Kupferschmidt*
Tracing contacts is crucial for stopping an Ebola outbreak. Public health workers need to find every patient, identify everyone they have interacted with, and monitor them for symptoms during the 21-day incubation period. But tracing contacts is a difficult and often frustrating job. Science joined a team in Bong County in Liberia that tried to locate a woman who had been in contact with two Ebola patients before they died; she reportedly fled to a remote village. The tracing team made a harrowing and exhausting 9-hour trek through the jungle to find her—and came home empty-handed. Their quest highlights just how difficult it will be to end the West African Ebola epidemic.