Speed Reads

Ebola

A small cluster of villages in Guinea is the last known place on Earth with Ebola

The horrible Ebola pandemic that killed more than 11,300 people over the past 22 months, mostly in three West African nations, is not over. But it is down to a few cases in a small cluster of villages in Guinea — one of the three hard-hit countries — and, The New York Times reports, it is proving really hard to get the case number down to zero.

One woman believed to be infected has vanished, and her friends and neighbors aren't giving health officials (or Guinea's prime minister) any hints. There are also about 150 other people also known to have had close contact with the victims, plus another 200 who had some form of brief contact. And in some cases, health officials don't know how the disease is being spread. "We are all holding our breath, frankly," Christopher Dye, director of strategy at the World Health Organization, tells The Times. Public health workers are trying mightily, if unevenly, to stamp Ebola out, moving into the villages in large white tents.

Guinea wasn't hit quite as hard as neighboring Sierra Leone or Liberia, but Liberia has gone more than two months since its last Ebola infection, and Sierra Leone could be declared Ebola-free on Saturday, which would mark 42 days without a new case. Read more about the smoldering battle against Ebola at The New York Times.