Breakdown + Breakdown runners-up

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Science  19 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6216, pp. 1450-1451
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6216.1450-b

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This year, an Ebola outbreak in a remote village in Guinea grew into a widespread epidemic that has alarmed the entire world. So far, the rampaging virus has sickened more than 18,000 people and killed almost 7000—almost three times as many deaths as in all previous Ebola outbreaks added together. Epidemiologists agree that faster, more effective action could have prevented the worst of it. For months after cases began appearing in December 2013, other countries were slow both to notice the problem and to react to it. Only after people from Western countries began falling ill did the international community mobilize full-scale efforts to help. Because of the slow response and missed opportunities to contain the outbreak, Science has chosen Ebola as its breakdown of the year. Unfortunately, in any year there is always enough bad news for several breakdowns. In 2014, Science's staff chose three runners-up: the Japan stem cell debacle, mixed signals over inflation in the early universe, and the U.S. House of Representatives science committee's targeting of science-funding agencies.