The Ebola virus was first detected in 1976 near the Ebola river (hence the name), there are 5 known strands of the virus and only 4 can infect humans. Ebola virus is contracted from infected animals that carry the virus, the fruit bat is suspected to be the natural host). Physical contact with bodily fluids of infected animals is one way of transmission; from there human to human transmission is made through bodily fluids of infected people and surfaces or objects they may have interacted with.

There are two common transmissions that occur frequently. The first is between health-care workers and their interactions with Ebola patients. Many professionals attribute this to a lack of precaution and procedures regarding infection control. The second occurrence happens at burial ceremonies, where mourners contract the disease by physical contact with the victim.

As the virus spreads it causes severe damage to the immune system and organs of the body. Levels of blood clotting cells drop, leading to severe bleeding, internally and externally. Organ failure and severe loss of blood are what makes Ebola such a deadly virus. As of yet Ebola is incurable, however there are 2 possible vaccines undergoing human safety testing.


Social media sites have been trending Ebola continuously due to recent outbreaks. Sites and YouTube videos all around are booming and apps have already been developed to track the virus and give notifications about current statistics and real-time updates. Public information has been available since the first series of outbreaks, but there has been an obvious boom for more real-time data (usually as maps) as the disease spreads globally this year. Email alerts from universities and other organizations are also becoming a common tool for tracking and alerting possible cases.

Featured maps: CDC 2014 Ebola Outbreak Map
Ebola 2014 Outbreak Timeline
Fox News Ebola Outbreak Map

Related terminology: hemorrhagic fever, virus, infection, disease, flu, malaria, typhoid fever

Citations/refernces: “Ebolda virus disease” World Health Organization 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from who.com: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

Cassoobhoy, A. (2014, August 5). “Ebola Virus: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention”. Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/ebola-fever-virus-infection

Modeling Ebola in West Africa: Cumulative Cases by Date of Reporting. (2014, January 1). Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://healthmap.org/ebola/#timeline

Ebola Map. (2014, January 1). Retrieved October 26, 2014, from http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014-ebola-outbreak-map

2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - Outbreak Distribution Map. (2014, October 27). Retrieved October 28, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/distribution-map.html