I really like this analysis by Daniel Hoffman comparing the growth rate of the outbreak in Sierra Leone with the fraction of the population that is poor at the county level. He found a significant positive trend - the poorer the county, the faster the spread of Ebola. Go read it.
I think it's somewhat intuitive that Ebola virus disease and poverty are linked. High population density (e.g. slums), poor sanitation, and a dearth of infection control resources in healthcare settings all contribute to transmission. My (naive) assumption though is that these conditions are fairly common in the Ebola-affected countries, so I'm surprised there's a discernible relationship in this outbreak.
The analysis leaves me with several questions. Is this finding robust across regions and cultures? Is there a certain threshold for poverty conducive to sustained transmission? What exactly about impoverished conditions augments risk? In the hospital setting intervention points are obvious (training and PPE), but in the community setting what are the primary drivers of transmission? How can we address those drivers?
"Send me your data - PDF is fine," said no one ever
The public health paradox ("When public health works, it's invisible")
Let's make data a civic right
Scholarly impact of open access journals
Six months later, disease detectives still battling fungal meningitis outbreak