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Factbox - The worst Ebola outbreak on record
October 1, 2014 / 11:14 PM / 3 years ago

Factbox - The worst Ebola outbreak on record

REUTERS - West Africa is struggling with the worst Ebola outbreak since the disease was identified in 1976, and the first case has been diagnosed in the United States.

A World Health Organization (WHO) health worker gives a demonstration on the method of putting on a protective suit to health worker trainees in Freetown September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Umaru Fofana

Below are some facts regarding the outbreak:

- The outbreak has killed 3,338 people, or 47 percent of the 7,178 known to have been infected as of Sept. 28, predominantly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal. The disease - which emerged in a remote forest region of Guinea in March - has also turned up in Nigeria and Senegal, but officials say the disease has been contained in those two countries.

- There is no vaccine or cure for Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever. In past outbreaks, fatality rates have reached up to 90 percent. Ebola causes fever, flu-like pains, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea.

- Pharmaceutical companies are working on experimental Ebola vaccines and antiviral drugs, but a significant number of doses will not be available until at least the first quarter of 2015.

- Ebola is not airborne. It is transmitted through blood, vomit, diarrhea and other bodily fluids. Healthcare workers in West Africa have been among the hardest hit by the outbreak.

- Ebola symptoms generally appear between two and 21 days after infection, meaning there is a significant window during which an infected person can escape detection, allowing them to travel. However, they are not considered contagious until they start showing symptoms.

- Recovery from Ebola depends on the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the number of infections could rise to up to 1.4 million people by early next year without a massive global intervention to contain the virus.

- The United States, Britain, France, China, Cuba and international organizations are pouring funds, supplies and personnel into the affected parts of West Africa.

- Ebola’s suspected origin is forest bats. The virus was first identified in 1976 in what is now known as Democratic Republic of the Congo.

SOURCE: World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Compiled by Lisa Shumaker

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