July 29, 2014
Getty Images

Ebola — which first appeared in 1976 in the Congo and Sudan — is a brutal virus, with some strains killing up to 90 percent of people infected. People infected with Ebola, which is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, vomit, and diarrhea, can remain symptomless for between 2 and 21 days before being stricken with flu-like symptoms, diarrhea, and vomiting which can lead to the hemorrhaging of the eyes, mouth, and internal organs.

The current outbreak in West Africa is the biggest yet, killing 672 people since February, including at least two American citizens. The disease could potentially start spreading even faster after a Liberian man infected with the virus was allowed to board a plane that made a stopover in Ghana, changed planes in Togo, and died in Lagos, the world's fourth most populous city.

Some even worry that the disease could spread to the U.S. after the wife and children of a Texan doctor who came down with the virus were allowed to fly back to America. CDC director Tom Frieden says the CDC is ready for the possibility: "We do not anticipate this will spread in the U.S. if an infected person is hospitalized here, but we are taking action now by alerting healthcare workers in the U.S. and reminding them how to isolate and test suspected patients while following strict infection control procedures."

The only happy news is that the disease is showing signs of becoming more treatable. Deborah-Fay Ndhlovu of Nature points to a 2012 study that showed that "monkeys infected with Ebola have been cured by a cocktail of three antibodies first administered 24 hours or more after exposure. The result raises hopes that a future treatment could improve the chances of humans surviving the disease caused by the deadly virus."

But sadly, even if this research leads to an effective human treatment, a cure in monkeys is no use to humans infected today. John Aziz

1:09 p.m. ET

With Rand Paul out of the running, the Kentucky senator's former campaign manager is joining up with another Republican presidential candidate: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Both Paul and Rubio's campaigns confirmed Wednesday that Chip Englander will now serve as a senior political adviser for the Midwest to Rubio's campaign. Paul suspended his presidential bid last week.

The announcement follows Rubio's disappointing fifth-place finish in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday after a shaky performance in the Granite State's GOP debate Saturday. With the addition of Englander to the team, Rubio's campaign hopes to capitalize on his connections to Paul's supporters. Becca Stanek

12:55 p.m. ET

Come for cardboard crowns and mediocre burgers, stay for the hot dogs? Burger King is adding wieners to its menu, Fortune reports.

"It's so obvious," said Alex Macedo' Burger King's president of North America operations. "I don't know why we didn't do this before."

There will be a classic beef hot dog for $1.99, or, if you want to splurge, there's a $2.99 chili cheese hot dog available.

Macedo told Fortune he wants the addition to become "the Whopper of hot dogs," but it all seems irrelevant in a world where Burger King has chicken fries. Julie Kliegman

12:26 p.m. ET
Sarah Rice/Getty Images

A top investigator in the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan announced Tuesday that, depending on how the investigation pans out, state and county officials could face charges as serious as manslaughter.

"We're here to investigate what possible crimes there are, anything [from] involuntary manslaughter or death that may have happened to some young person or old person because of this poisoning, to misconduct in office," said Todd Flood, the special counsel for the state attorney general's office and leader of the Flint investigation. "We take this very seriously."

Flood says investigators will be looking to see if officials committed "gross negligence" or a "breach of duty" in the decision to change the city's water source as a cost-cutting measure and the subsequent handling of the city drinking water's high levels of lead. He also noted that the investigation could reveal officials' response to the issue could simply be a result of "honest mistakes."

Since the city switched water sources in April 2014, cases of Legionnaires' disease have increased, with nine cases being deadly. High lead levels in children's blood has also raised concerns about permanent neurological damage. Becca Stanek

12:12 p.m. ET

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have turned their attention to the minority vote as they head to South Carolina later this month, where approximately 60 percent of registered Democrats are black. Sanders courted the African-American vote in a big way on Wednesday, meeting civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton for breakfast in Harlem.

"My concern is that in January of next year for the first time in American history a black family will be moving out of the White House. I do not want black concerns to be moved out with them. We must be front and center and not marginalized. And Senator Sanders coming here this morning further makes it clear that we will not be ignored,” Sharpton told reporters after the meeting, Reuters reports.

Catherine Robinson, 16, skipped class to see Sanders and Sharpton meet. "[Sanders] cares about African-Americans and any other race because he sees people as people while Hillary is actively trying to get minority votes … I feel it's not genuine. She just wants the job," Robinson told The New York Post.

Sharpton met in the same restaurant with Barack Obama in 2008.

Wednesday also saw Sanders earn an endorsement from Ta-Nehisi Coates, the celebrated writer of "The Case for Reparations" and Between the World and Me, The Hill reports.

Still, Clinton remains a strong favorite with African-American voters. "It will be very difficult, if not impossible, for a Democrat to win the nomination without strong levels of support among African American and Hispanic voters," Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in a memo obtained by Politico Tuesday night. Jeva Lange

12:06 p.m. ET

Though Bernie Sanders currently has two fewer New Hampshire delegates than rival Hillary Clinton at Tuesday night's primary, he overwhelmingly won the state's popular vote. And when he did, money came pouring in, Politico reports.

From when polls closed at 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., the Vermont senator's campaign netted $2.6 million in donations.

In January, Sanders outraised Clinton by $5 million. Julie Kliegman

11:16 a.m. ET
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

If a trip to London's West End this summer to catch the eighth installment of the Harry Potter series just wasn't possible, there's now a Plan B. J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website announced Wednesday that the script for the upcoming play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will also be published in print and e-book in July. The eighth story, which Rowling developed as a sequel to the original seven-book Harry Potter series, jumps forward 19 years to chronicle Harry's relationship with his son, Albus Severus, and his work at the Ministry of Magic.

The news is likely a big sigh of relief for Harry Potter fans, as snagging a seat at the two-part play in London was initially the only way to find out what Harry has been up to lately. And, USA Today notes, tickets have been "nearly impossible" for fans to get their hands on, with digital ticket sales lines being "tens of thousands of people long."

The script will be released twice: First, as a Special Rehearsal Edition featuring the scripts used during the show's preview period, and then as a Definitive Collector's Edition, which will feature the script used during the actual performances of the play.

The script is set to come out July 31, 2016, the day after the play premieres in London and, as Potter fans will note, Harry's birthday. Becca Stanek

11:11 a.m. ET
REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

At least 500 people have been killed since the beginning of a Russian-backed offensive on Aleppo in Syria, which began on the first of the month, Al Jazeera reports. The UK-based monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Wednesday that among the dead are "89 civilians, including 23 children, 143 pro-government fighters, 274 rebels and foreign fighters."

In anticipation of the Syrian government's offensive, which has been supported by Russian air strikes, tens of thousands of Syrians have already fled to the Turkish border. The U.N. has warned that as many as 300,000 people living in Aleppo could be cut off from humanitarian aid if negotiations aren't successful.

"If government advances around the city continue, local councils in the city estimate that some 100,000 to 150,000 civilians might flee," the U.N. has said. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads