Ebola: Tracking the Outbreak
Since March, the Ebola virus outbreak has infected 6,263 people and caused 2,917 deaths in West Africa. With no proven treatment, the World Health Organization (WHO) is scrambling to halt an epidemic its officials say is unparalleled in severity, complexity, and scale—which is likely underreported. The current outbreak has had more cases and deaths than all previous outbreaks combined.
Kelsey Nowakowski, Xaquín G.V., Jason Treat, Maggie Smith, Anna Scalamogna, and Lauren James, NG staff; Edward Benfield
Published September 25, 2014 | Data as of September 24, 2014
The current situation
Five West African countries are battling the outbreak—Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Nigeria. Bordering countries are on high alert. Unlike previous outbreaks that primarily occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, this one includes urban areas. Inadequate medical facilities and distrust of health care workers exacerbate the crisis.
Gray shading shows population density. Highlights show currently affected areas and areas that were previously affected.
In September, an unrelated outbreak was reported in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It seems to be contained.
… of a deadly disease
Since the first outbreaks in Africa in 1976, three of the five species of Ebolavirus have accounted for almost all cases of the disease seen below: the Sudan, Bundibugyo and Zaire species. A fourth species (Taï Forest) caused one nonfatal case in Cote d’Ivoire in 1994. A fifth (Reston) has not yet been transmitted to humans. (Lighter color shows total cases, darker shows deaths)
1976 1979 1985 1994 1996 2000 2003 2005 2007 2012 2014 0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000
The deadliest species …
The Zaire species of Ebolavirus, responsible for the current outbreak, is the deadliest strain of the disease. With a fatality rate around 50 percent–ranging from 39 percent in Sierra Leone to 64 percent in Guinea–it has already killed 2,917 people. Over half of the deaths have occurred in Liberia, with a recent surge of cases in Monrovia, the country’s capital.
By mid-June, the outbreak had already become the worst in history—deadlier than the 1976 event in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and with more cases than the 2000 outbreak in Uganda.
0 1,000 2,000 3,000 4,000 5,000 6,000 Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Sources: World Health Organization; LandScan
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