The Ebola virus
The Ebola virus is a virus disease that causes acute and serious illness with often fatal outcome on humans. The virus is thought to originate from a specific bat species found in some African countries. The disease is spread through bodily fluids (blood, saliva etc) via direct contact or clothing or bed linens from infected persons. The disease only spreads when the infected person is showing symptoms such as high fever, muscle pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash.
It was first discovered in 1976 in the Congo and in Sudan. The Ebola virus is named after the Ebola River near the location of the first outbreak in Congo. There have been an outbreaks of the virus before, however, this current outbreak that was first registered in March 2014 in Guinea is the worse one. It has then spread to mainly neighbouring countries Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal.
So far about 8500 persons have been infected of which 4000 have died from the virus, almost all in the West Africa. There are no vaccines on the market yet but 2 vaccines exist and are being tested on humans now. In August, the WHO declared outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The situation is still bad in countries Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia but in Senegal and Nigeria are the outbreaks under control and no more people have fallen ill there.
Last week and yesterday, high-level meetings took place where the leaders of the EU and the member states met to discuss the situation. EU countries are now sending money and health care staff to the countries in West Africa to help fight the continued spreading of the virus. Also, many international airports in Europe are now checking starting to check the health of the incoming travellers from the affected countries.
If you want to read more about the Ebola virus you can do so at the website of the World Health Organisation and the Commissions website.