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Ebola is a disease caused by infection with a strain of Ebola virus. The 2014 Ebola epidemic crisis is the largest in human history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak also spread to the U.S. and some European countries. Ebola is spreads through direct contact with blood and body fluids of a person infected by and already showing symptoms of Ebola. Ebola is not spread through the air, water, food, or mosquitoes. Check out the symptoms of the Ebola infection in the graphic below:
Two-year old child in southern Guinea who died in December 2013
After the 'patient zero' case, the deadly disease stays localized until February 2014, when the first cases are reported throughout the country and a health care worker dies in the adjacent province. By the end of March, the neighboring Sierra Leone also reports it's first cases. At this point, World Health Organization, in cooperation with Guinea authorities, published the first official report, stating that there were 87 reported/suspected cases since January, out of which 61 had deadly outcome.
In the beginning of April, members of the medical charity Doctors without Borders warned that the possible outcomes of the crisis are unknown. The same day, officials from the WHO stated that the outbreak was still relatively small for large scale actions.
In May, Sierra Leone confirms it's first death case from the virus.
On June 17, Liberia reports its first case of Ebola in its capital.
In July 2014, for the fist time, the Ebola outbreak was declared 'out of control'. The first case is reported in Nigeria after a man of Nigerian-American origin dies in the quarantine after flying in Lagos. Soon after, the country closes its schools and seals its borders. Dr Sheik Umar Khan, one of the key people responsible for containing the outbreak in Sierra Leone, dies on July 29th.
Spread outside the African continent:
On August 2, Kent Brantly, American doctor infected with Ebola in Liberia was transported to Atlanta, Georgia for treatment. Only three days later, a second doctor arrives to Atlanta from Liberia. (both of them recovered and were released from hospital by August 21) On August 8, WHO steps forward calling the epidemic a "public health emergency of international concern", later warning that the outbreak could infect more than 20,000 people across the critical areas. By August 12, the first European fatality is confirmed in Spain. Around same time, WHO starts trials with experimental drugs, causing outrage around the world. On August 24, first British citizen flown home for the treatment.
In September, death toll reaches almost 2000 people. Official statement from the United Nations states that it will take six to nine months to stop the virus from expanding. Two weeks later, the UN Security Council names the crisis "a threat to international peace and security". US announces plans to send 3 000 military personnel to help training medics and build clinics. Same month, Sierra Leone puts one third of its population under quarantine, or roughly 2.2 million people. On September 30, Thomas Duncan becomes the first Ebola infection diagnosed outside Africa in Texas. Two health workers taking care of him were also diagnosed with the disease.
By the beginning of October, 7 178 cases were diagnosed in Africa, with 3 338 fatal outcomes. First case in France, a nurse from Liberia, recovers from the disease. Thomas Duncan dies in Texas on October 8. Five major airports in the US start screening passengers from Western Africa, example followed by London's Heathrow only seven days later. On October 12th, a nurse treating Duncan in Texas becomes the first person to contract the virus in the US. On October 14, UN worker of Sudanese origin dies in Germany, after being flown there for treatment. At the same time, a second nurse diagnosed with the disease. On October 17, the UN receives 38% of the $1 billion in funding it appealed for. In the meantime Senegal and Nigeria are declared Ebola-free.
The crisis also provoked several protests across the States