Compared to other infectious diseases, Ebola spreads slowly and to relatively few people. But it is extremely deadly: Thousands have been killed this year in West Africa, and more are falling ill every day.
Mathematical epidemiologists create far more complex models than the simulations above to answer three key questions about outbreaks: How contagious is it? How quickly will it spread? And how many people will it kill? These models help public health officials develop strategies to attack specific outbreaks.