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Love, respect, integration into communities, work, housing, food and clean water: That's what mentally ill people, like all human beings, need. Instead, in many parts of the developing world, people with mental illness are chained, nearly starved and even locked in a cage with a wild animal like a hyena to scare the demons out of them.

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Anne Purfield and Michelle Dynes are epidemiologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They spent the past several weeks responding to the Ebola epidemic in the Kenema district of Sierra Leone, and recently returned to Atlanta.

One of the many difficult aspects of working around the disease is not being able to comfort people who are grieving, Purfield and Dynes explain during a visit to StoryCorps in Atlanta. (Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids.)

"You can't touch anyone," says Purfield, 37. "You can't comfort them."

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The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a "tragedy not seen in modern times," said Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma.

At the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Thursday, Koroma and the presidents of Guinea and Liberia are pleading with the international community for help battling the Ebola epidemic. In the three hardest-hit countries, the virus has already killed nearly 4,000 people.

They call themselves "the Butterflies."

And that's not just wishful thinking.

When Gloria Amparo, Maritza Asprilla Cruz and Mery Medina sweep into NPR's bureau in central London, they are indeed as beautiful as butterflies: bright clothing, big beaming smiles. They look around in wonder at the newsroom spread out before them, laughing and joking as I make them a cup of tea.

Yet these are women who've led tough lives — born into Colombian society, where violence and abuse are commonplace.

The Ebola virus, which killed a patient at a Dallas hospital Wednesday, has become part of the conversation among politicians and pundits — in particular, conservative politicians and pundits. The virus has added heat to conversations about immigration and border control, as well as ongoing criticisms of the Obama administration and the government in general.

Sometimes a fetus can't make it into the birth canal. Both mother and child are at risk. If you were looking to fix the problem, you probably wouldn't call up an Argentine car mechanic.

But maybe you should.

A few weeks ago, scientists issued a dire warning about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa: If nothing changes, the world could have tens of thousands of cases in the coming months.

So how can we tell if things have started to change — if international aid is starting to work?

He liked to joke around with his neighbors. And he always gave them a helping hand. The neighbors that Thomas Eric Duncan's generous spirit is what cost him his life.

Duncan, 42, was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the first to die of the disease on American soil. He likely contracted the disease in Liberia when he carried a pregnant woman, sick with Ebola, into her house after no clinic would admit her.

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"Now we're in it."

That's what Liberian health worker Lorenzo Dorr tells me. The first two cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Grand Gedeh County, in Liberia's southeast, where Dorr is based.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died Wednesday morning at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. As relatives and friends grieve and plan an evening service for the 42-year-old man, public health officials are putting in action plans to safely manage his remains.

This is critical, given that people who die of Ebola virus infection can harbor the virus after death.

Spanish health authorities seem as if they have no heart. They euthanized Excalibur, a dog that could have caught Ebola from his owner, the Spanish nurse who was diagnosed with the virus this week.

But the question of Excalibur's fate is a lot more complicated than just ... Awww, how could they put down a cute dog?

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Update: At 2 p.m. ET, our correspondent in Madrid informed us that Excalibur had been euthanized, reportedly inside the couple's apartment; the body was then transported to an incinerator.

The latest victim of the Ebola panic has not been tested for the deadly virus. But he lived with someone who has it.

Amid fear over the virus's possible spread in Europe, Spanish authorities say they'll take no chances. They will not test him. Instead, to play it safe, they will kill him.

This latest victim ... is a dog.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden has said his organization will soon be implementing new health screening procedures at U.S. airports. It's part of an ongoing effort to control the spread of Ebola.

"We'll be strengthening our screening procedures both at the source and at entry," Frieden said at a news conference yesterday. His comments echoed calls for stepped-up screening by President Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

What will these screenings entail? And will they make Americans safer?

Dr. Jack Ross is used to seeing potentially lethal viruses, and he is used to putting patients into isolation. Still, Ebola is different.

"I think, for any hospital today, Ebola represents one step higher than anything else, if we had to do it," says Ross, who directs infection control for Hartford Healthcare's five hospitals in Connecticut.

On a tour of Hartford Hospital, Ross explains how his Ebola control plan would affect various parts of the facility — from the emergency room, to the intensive care unit, to the floors of rooms where patients stay.

Sitting in the empty auditorium, 10 minutes before Yoram Bauman's set begins, I start feeling bad. Low turnout is hard on a stand-up comedian, but what was he expecting for a comedy gig at 6 p.m. on a Monday ... at the Inter-American Development Bank, of all places?

When the event coordinator comes in to make an announcement to the six of us in the audience, I worry she's going to cancel the event.

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We're hearing a lot in today's program about the people who care for patients with Ebola. There is a shortage of suits to protect them.

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Last month, the United States made two promises to Liberia.

On Sept. 8, Obama pledged that the U.S. would construct a 25-bed hospital outside Monrovia, the capital, to treat health care workers. They've been bearing the brunt of the outbreak: In Liberia alone, at least 188 health workers have been infected and 94 have died.

Then, on Sept. 16, Obama announced a massive response to the outbreak, involving thousands of U.S. troops on the ground to train health care workers, deliver relief supplies and build 17 Ebola treatment centers for the general public.

No country grows as many opium poppies or produces as much illicit opium as Afghanistan. In 2013, opium production soared to a record high of 5,500 tons, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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