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Ebola virus epidemic in Africa

A micrograph (TEM) of an ebolavirusThe current Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported in March 2014 and has now become the worst occurrence of the disease since it was discovered in 1976. The current epidemic has now killed more than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined. Up to 28th November, 7275 people had been reported as having died from the disease in six countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mali, Nigeria and United States. The total number of reported cases is more than 16,000.

An Ebola checkpoint in Sierra LeoneEbola was named after the river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near where one of the first two villages that reported outbreaks (in 1976). There are normally fewer than 500 cases reported each year, and no cases were reported at all between 1979 and 1994. Ebola is believed to spread from animals to humans either through direct contact with fruit bats, which are thought to be the natural hosts of the virus, or other animals that have been infected by the bats.

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