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Ebola Virus History

Ebola is a deadly virus that kills almost 90% of those who contract this illness. Ebola is also known as Ebola virus or Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever. The reason that Ebola is so deadly is due to the bleeding that this disease causes on both the inside and outside of the body. The immune system is damaged, along with the organs, and this leads to the blood clotting cells to drop in numbers. In turn, the person suffers bleeding that is deadly and uncontrollable. This article explains ebola virus history like the causative virus strain, Ebola outbreaks and fatality rate, etc. 

A Brief Overview of Ebola Virus History

Origin of Ebola

The origin of Ebola dated back to 1976 and was given its name due to the area in which it was discovered, the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo located in Africa. Since it was first discovered, there have been several Ebola outbreaks.

Sub Types of the Ebola Virus

Since its discovery, there have been 5 identified sub types of the Ebola Virus. These are:

  • Zaire Ebolavirus /Ebola Virus (EBOV)

  • Sudan Ebolavirus (SUDV)

  • Tai Forest Ebolavirus (TAFV)

  • Reston Ebolavirus (RESTV)

  • Bundibugyoebolavirus (BDBV)

Confirmed Ebola Outbreak Areas

The outbreaks of Ebola do not follow any path, as they have appeared in different areas at different times. Some of the confirmed areas in which outbreaks have happened are:

  • Gabon

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo

  • The Ivory Coast

  • Sudan

  • Uganda

  • Republic of Congo

Since the first case of ebola, there have been multiple Ebola virus disease outbreaks in history, mostly in western Africa. Note that the following timeline of Ebola virus history contains both Ebola virus disease and those infections caused by Ebola virus strains that did not lead to Ebola Virus Disease.

Cases Caused by Different Strains of Ebola Virus

The following table shows more details of Ebola virus history, including cases caused by different strains of ebola virus:

Year(s)

Country

Ebola Sub Type

Cases Reported

% of deaths 

Cause/Situation of Outbreak

March 2014-present

Multiple countries

Ebola virus

5481

2946 (54%)

Situation is still being investigated, and numbers continue to increase.

November 2012 – January 2013

Uganda

Sudan virus

6

3 (50%)

Occurred in the Luwero District. CDC collected samples to determine why outbreak occurred.

June – November 2012

Democratic Republic of  the Congo

Bundibugyo Virus

36

13 (36.1%)

Occurred in the Province Orientale. No link to the outbreak in Uguda was found.

June – October 2012

Uganda

Sudan Virus

11

4 (36.4%)

Occurred in the Kibaale District, testing was performed by the CDC.

May 2011

Uganda

Sudan virus

1

1 (100%)

The patient was diagnosed via blood sample and confirmed positive after death.

December 2008 – February 2009

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola Virus

32

15 (47%)

Occurred in the Mweka and Luebo zones in Kasai.

November 2008

Philippines

Reston Virus

6

0

First diagnosis of Ebola in pigs, humans associated with the pigs developed antibodies but did not develop the virus

December 2007 – January 2008

Uganda

Bundibugyo virus

149

37 (25%)

This is the first time that the Bundibugyo strand was recorded and happened in the western side of the country.

2007

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ebola Virus

264

187 (71%)

The outbreak started on November 20th, with the last case reported on October 4th, and the last death occurring on October 20th.

2004

Russia

Ebola Virus

1

1 (100%)

Infection was due to contamination that occurred in laboratory settings.

2004

Sudan

Sudan Virus

17

7 (41%)

Occurred in the Southern Sudan area in which was experiencing an outbreak of measles as well. Many of the Ebola cases were later labeled measles.

November – December 2003

Republic of   Congo

Ebola Virus

35

29 (83%)

Occurred in two villages, the Mbomo and Mbandza.

December 2002 – April 2003

Republic of   Congo

Ebola Virus

143

128 (89%)

Occurred in the Mbomo and Kéllé districts.

October 2001 – March 2002

Republic of   Congo

Ebola Virus

57

43 (75%)

This was the first time in which Ebola Virus was seen in the Republic of Congo and occurred right across from the border of Gabon.

October 2001 – March 2002

Gabon

Ebola Virus

65

53 (82%)

This outbreak spread from the Gabon border to Republic of Congo.

2000 – 2001

Uganda

Sudan Virus

425

224 (53%)

One of the worst epidemics of Ebola, most contamination was blamed on improper funeral processes, spreading this to family members and medical care that was not adequate.

1996

Russia

Ebola Virus

1

1 (100%)

This infection and death was due to a contamination in a laboratory setting.

1996

Philippines

Reston Virus

0

0

A monkey export facility was diagnosed with the virus, but no humans were infected.

1996

USA

Reston Virus

0

0

A monkey taken from the Philippines to a quarantine facility in Texas was diagnosed with the virus.

1996

South Africa

Ebola Virus

2

1 (50%)

A doctor who treated Ebola patients is infected, traveling to South Africa after being in Gabon. The nurse who treated him caught the virus and died, while the doctor survived.

July 1996 –   January 1997

Gabon

Ebola Virus

60

45 (74%)

A hunter who lived in the forest was traveling for medical purposes, and ended up infected others. It was believed that a dead chimpanzee was infected with the virus.

January – April 1996

Gabon

Ebola Virus

37

21 (57%)

People ate a dead chimpanzee whose meat was not thoroughly cooked and passed the virus to these people. The people then passed it on to family members.

1995

Democratic Republic of Congo

Ebola Virus

315

250 (81%)

A patient worked in the forest and then traveled to the Mayibout area, passing the virus onto families and in the hospitals.

1994

Cote d’lvoire (Ivory Coast)

Tai

1

0

A scientist was conducting an autopsy on a chimpanzee, and contracting the virus.

1994

Gabon

Ebola Virus

52

31 (60%)

Was first thought to be yellow fever, but it was later diagnosed as Ebola. Occurred in gold mining camps in the rain forest.

1992

Italy

Reston Virus

0

0

A facility in Sienna had monkeys imported from Philippines, the same facility that the US utilized.

1989-1990

Philippines

Reston Virus

3

0

The three humans involved with the primate facility developed antibodies to the virus, but never were infected.

1990

USA

Reston Virus

4

0

In Virginia and Texas, monkeys were transported from the Philippines that were positive for Reston Virus. 4 humans developed antibodies, but never shown signs of the virus.

1989

USA

Reston Virus

0

0

Monkeys transported from the Philippines were put into quarantined facilities.

1979

Sudan

Sudan virus

34

22 (65%)

This was in the same area as the 1976 Sudan epidemic.

1977

Zaire

Ebola Virus

1

1 (100%)

Occurred in the Tandala village.

1976

England

Sudan Virus

1

0

Accidental needle contamination affected laboratory worker.

1976

Sudan

Sudan Virus

284

151 (53%)

Virus spread through hospitals with many medical professionals becoming infected.

1976

Zaire

Ebola Virus

318

280 (88%)

First time the virus was recognized and occurred in the hospital setting in which contaminated needles and other supplies were used by several patients.

Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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