Thanks to Greg Folkers for sending the link to this report in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases: Good and Bad News about Ebola. Excerpt:
The simple fact is that the world has become very small in recent decades. Connectivity via rapid travel on local, regional, and global scales makes epidemic spread massively efficient . This global linkage means that a person almost anywhere in the world can be in the US or Europe within 48 hours, and thus that no disease outbreak anywhere can be considered as unlinked to the US or Europe, at least potentially .
The implications for disease control and prevention, and particularly for taking care of “American” interests in that regard, are immense—the number and variety of diseases that may come into play are considerable.
In this regard, the hemispheric or global spread of a series of diseases comes into a different light: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), West Nile virus, and chikungunya all are examples . Note that each of these diseases was unknown to or ignored entirely by the pharmaceutical industry, and slightly less completely by the research funding and research communities.
Only when they spread into the US and European realm did these diseases see intense research attention—the arrival of West Nile virus in North America  is an excellent example: a total of 278 publications accumulated from 1942 through 1998, but yearly numbers of publications averaged 420 once the virus arrived (Fig. 1). Ebola is already following a similar trajectory after this (tragic) banner year of 2014, as can be appreciated from the inset in Fig. 1.
So what hope is there for the numerous neglected diseases, particularly in the Tropics? Many of them never get identified and described by scientists (see, e.g., the case of Lujo virus ) because they are not spectacular in their effects or because they do not occur in areas with good medical diagnostic facilities; those that are known are neglected in the sense that no pharmaceutical company would invest in a cure, a vaccine, or even intense research on them. Such neglected diseases include Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis, the leishmaniases, echinococcosis, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, Buruli ulcer, and many others .
Although research on neglected tropical diseases is supported by several US government programs (e.g., President's Malaria Initiative, President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease Program), as well as by several international and nongovernmental efforts (e.g., Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; World Bank Group), clearly, the challenge is costlier than present resources can manage .
If the present situation with Ebola is to offer any lessons, they are that the only hope for serious investment in reducing the incidence and impact of such diseases is via spread to developed countries. Once such spread occurs, research and pharmaceutical investment will most likely follow. Ebola is a positive example, and clearly Ebola research will enter a new phase of progress, innovation, funding, production of key pharmaceuticals, and improved care, hopefully for all who might be infected by this virus.
In effect, what Ebola did was to cross the line between being a “neglected tropical disease” and being an “emerging infection.” The former set of diseases collectively exert an enormous burden in the developing world that may be constant or episodic, but are rather ubiquitous in those regions, affecting the affluent only when they venture into those regions [13,14]. The latter, on the other hand, are much less predictable, but garner more immediate attention on the world scene, precisely because they may affect affluent countries.
How many other neglected diseases must await this process of spread to affluent regions and infection of affluent people, making the transition from neglected tropical disease to emerging infection, before they also will see investment and innovation?