Ebola’s History And Current Geography

The Ebola virus disease (EVN) formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever is now on most countries watch list not unlike a terrorist watch list adopted by most countries. Why?

The Ebola disease is deadly and if allowed to spread can have devastating effects on any population.

The Ebola virus was originally identified by microbiologist Peter Piot in 1972. It first surfaced in 1976 with two outbreaks occurring at the same time, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

The first outbreak (Ebola-Sudan) in 1976 infected over 284 people, killing 53 per cent. Months later, the second outbreak (Ebola-Zaire – EBOZ) infected 318 persons, killing 90 per cent.

The third strain, Ebola Reston (EBOR), was in 1989, when infected monkeys were imported into Reston, Virginia, United States, from Mindanao in the Philippines.

The last known strain, Ebola Cote d’Ivoire (EBO-CI) was in 1994 when a female ethologist performing a necropsy on a dead chimpanzee from the Tai Forest, Cote d’Ivoire, accidentally infected herself.

Since the first reported cases of Ebola in 1976, the CDC officially started tracking outbreaks in 2000.

In the September 12, 2014 issue of Science magazine, Dr. Piot, who is Director of Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, noted that “the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the result of a perfect storm; dysfunctional health services as the result of decades of war, low public trust in government and Western medicine, traditional beliefs and even denials about the cause or existence of the virus…” he concluded by bemoaning the fact that local outbreaks of infectious diseases can turn into major epidemics if the fertile ground of poverty, dysfunctional health services and slow responses prevail.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia - Situation map of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa as of 1 October 2014.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia – Situation map of the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa as of 1 October 2014.

Today, the country to which the deadly disease has spread according to includes:

Reported Cases / Deaths (as of 1 October 2014)

Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow

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