The current and ongoing Ebola outbreak is short of becoming pandemic but it has already become the deadliest viral outbreak in documented history of the world. What is being simply referred to as Ebola, Ebolavirus or Ebola epidemic, is not a recent development. There is a forty year old history of Ebola.
The present case of Ebola outbreak is confined to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Guinea. People of various nationalities have been affected and more than 1,400 people have already died. There are more than 1,100 survivors but there is a chance of many more fatalities. Reports emerging out of UK and from CDC in the United States indicate that the present outbreak may last for another year to eighteen months before subsiding entirely. There is a possibility of a larger outbreak which is why there are travel bans and health advisories across the world. There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus and there is little hope for having one in the months to come. The only chance of containing the viral outbreak is to confine it to the regions affected. There is no evidence of this virus being able to transport itself through air. Hence, the risks of the virus spreading its outreach without having a host in the physical form of a human or a primate is nonexistent.
Ebola virus is so named because the first case was reported to have originated from the Ebola river. It is unclear if the river was the host of the virus when the first person to have died of Ebola virus in 1976. What was reported is the person, named Mabalo Lokela, had toured the Ebola river prior to being diagnosed with this virus. Since then, the virus has been known as Ebola.
There have been more than thirty cases of Ebola virus infecting humans or animals in the last forty years. Starting with the 1976 incident in Zaire along with two other incidents in the same year in Sudan and England, there have been cases reported in several parts of Africa, in United States, Philippines, Russia and some parts of Europe. Ebola has already claimed about 3,000 lives with its multiple outbreaks and the present one is certainly the most dreadful.
A History Of Ebola lists out the places where the viral outbreak had occurred in which year and the fatalities that were reported.