Important Ebola facts you should know to keep it away

Ebola virus disease was formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever. It is a severe and deadly disease that is rare.

  • And it is caused by the Ebola virus. The virus causes disease in humans and certain animals.
  • The virus is spread to humans by some wild animals; and then it is transmitted from person to person.
  • Ebola, more often than not, results in death if it is not treated.
  • There are five species of the Ebola virus, they are: Tai Forest, Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan and Reston.
  • The species responsible for the 2014 outbreak of the disease in West Africa is the Zaire species.
  • In Africa, three of the five species have been found to be responsible for large outbreaks; they are – the Sudan ebolavirus, Bundibugyo ebolavirus and Zaire ebolavirus. Also, of the five species of the Ebola virus, only one of them does not cause disease in humans – the Reston ebolavirus; it causes disease in non-human primates.
  • Of the total number of people who are infected with the Ebola virus, an average of about 50% of them die from the disease. In outbreaks of the disease in the past, the deaths that occurred from Ebola virus disease ranges from 25% to 90%.
  • It was in certain villages situated in Central Africa, close to tropical rain forests, that the first outbreak of Ebola occurred. The first time the disease occurred, it was in 1976, in two different places during the same period – in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo and in Nzara, South Sudan. The name of the disease, “Ebola”, was gotten from a river (Ebola river) near the village in Democratic Republic of Congo where the disease first occurred. Since then, there have been a number of outbreaks of the disease.
  • The most recent Ebola outbreak that occurred in Africa, starting from 2014, is the biggest, most complicated and far-reaching outbreak that has ever occurred since the first time the disease was found out in 1976. It is the largest in history so far. The number of cases and deaths from the 2014 outbreak alone are more than the total number of cases and deaths from all the other Ebola outbreaks (that have occurred before 2014) put together. It started in Guinea, and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone, and then to Nigeria and the United States of America. It also spread to Mali and Senegal. It was through one traveller who travelled by air, that it spread to Nigeria. And it was also through travellers who travelled by land that it spread to Mali (two travellers) and Senegal (one traveller). In the United States, there were two imported cases, one death, and two cases locally acquired in healthcare workers.
  • The countries that were most drastically affected by this outbreak are Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. This was because these countries had just come out of instability and conflicts, had health systems that were very weak, and did not have both infrastructural and human resources.
  • Researchers are not entirely sure what the natural host/reservoir is, but they believe that the natural host is an animal. And based on the evidence from their research, they think that fruit bats belonging to the Pteropodidae family are most likely to be the natural reservoirs of the Ebola virus.
Somso Kizor enjoys words. She loves reading good books and writing - amongst other things. Somso is passionate about educating people about their health; as this would reduce the burden of diseases and deaths (hence, suffering) all over the world. Let's not forget the popular saying that goes "health is wealth." For more details, send an email to