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Sunday, 30 November 2014

Ebola Virus

The Ebola disease is thought to have originated in fruit bats.

The first identifiable case of the Ebola virus in humans occurred on June 27, 1976 on a storekeeper in a cotton factory in Nzara, Sudan, who was hospitalized on June 30 and died on July 6.

The Sudan outbreak infected 284 people and killed 151 between June and November 1976.

While the medical staff involved in the Sudan outbreak were aware that they were dealing with a heretofore unknown disease, the naming of the virus did not occur until some months later when a second outbreak began in Yambuku, a small rural village near the Ebola River in Mongala District in northern Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

The team studying the newly-identified virus didn't want to name it after the village where it was found, so they named it after the closest river they could see on a map, which was the Ebola River.

Village school headmaster Mabalo Lokela began displaying symptoms on August 26, 1976 having visited the Ebola River in Northern Zaire between August 12 and 22. Lokela died on September 8, fourteen days after he began displaying symptoms. In total, 318 cases were of Ebola were identified in Zaire, and 280 resulted in death.

Two nurses standing near Mayinga N'Seka, a nurse with Ebola virus disease in the 1976 outbreak in Zaire. N'Seka died a few days later.

A 2000 epidemic of the Ebola virus disease in Uganda hit its tourist industry due to its 70% mortality rate. The outbreak affected 425 and killed 224;

In March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a major Ebola outbreak in Guinea, a western African nation. Researchers traced the outbreak to a two-year old child who died December 2013.The disease then rapidly spread to the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is the largest Ebola outbreak ever documented, and the first recorded in the region.

Ebola treatment unit in Liberia. Author CDC Global 
Band Aid 30's single "Do They Know It's Christmas," released to raise money for the Ebola crisis in 2014, went straight to #1 in the UK.

Tweets regarding the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in the summer of 2014 reached more than 60 million people three days faster than officials did.

Ebola cannot be caught through the air, or by being near sick people.

The virus spreads by direct contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected human or other animal. This means Ebola can be caught by touching a sick person's blood, saliva, mucus, semen, diarrhea, vomit, or other fluids that come out of a sick person's body. It can also be caught by touching water that has been touched by sick people.

Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone are greeted by spiritual songs, dancing, and a goody bag when they leave the hospital.

The World Health Organization announced the end of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa on January 14, 2016.  A total of 28,638 suspected cases and 11,315 deaths had been reported by that date, though the WHO believed that this substantially understated the magnitude of the outbreak.

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