Ebola Outbreak

Summary: Ebola is a deadly viral hemorrhagic fever that kills 25% to 90% of the people it infects. The biggest outbreak of Ebola to date is the 2014 West Africa outbreak. As of 5 November 2014, there are 13,042 reported cases resulting in 4,818 deaths. This outbreak is mainly centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; however the virus has spread to other places.

Ebola is a deadly viral hemorrhagic fever that kills 25% to 90% of the people it infects. The first outbreak of Ebola occurred between June and November 1976 in Nzara, South Sudan. It was caused by the Sudan virus (SUDV), one of the four ebolavirus that cause Ebola virus disease in humans. At the time of its occurrence it was thought to be a variant of the Marburg illness. The Sudan outbreak infected 284 people and killed 151.

The Ebola virus was not identifies until a few months later, where there was another outbreak in the Yambuku, a small rural village in Mongala District in northern Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The outbreak lasted for 26 days and the village was under quarantine for 2 weeks. There were 318 reported cases and 280 deaths. During this outbreak, the virus was isolated and name Zaire virus. This name was later changed to Ebola virus, named after the nearby river, where it is believed that the first victim was exposed to the virus.

After this, there were a few sporadic outbreaks of Ebola. There was an outbreak again in Zaire in 1995, resulting in 315 cases and 254 deaths. In 2000, there was an outbreak in Uganda affecting 425 cases and killing 224 people. The next outbreak was in the Republic of the Congo in 2003, which resulted in 143 cases and 128 deaths. In 2007, there was another epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that eventually affected 264 individuals and resulted in the deaths of 187. There were two small outbreaks in 2012 in Uganda, the first affecting 7 and killing 4, and the second affecting 24 and killing 17.

However, the biggest outbreak of Ebola to date is the 2014 West Africa outbreak. As of 5 November 2014, there are 13,042 reported cases resulting in 4,818 deaths. This outbreak is mainly centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia; however the virus has spread to other places. There were reported cases in the Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, and even in the United States of America and Spain. The outbreak of cases outside of the three initial countries is contained and the disease is unlikely to spread there if proper precautions are continued to be in place. Still, the condition in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia is dire. According to the World Health Organization, there can be up to 10,000 more case by December 2014 if the outbreak is not contained.

Image Courtesy: simplyyourhealth.com

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