West African Ebola virus epidemic
Simplified Ebola virus epidemic situation map
|Date||December 2013 – June 2016|
The West African Ebola virus epidemic (2013–2016) was the most widespread outbreak of
On 29 March 2016, the WHO terminated the
The outbreak left about 17,000 survivors of the disease, many of whom report post-recovery symptoms termed
|Articles related to the|
Ebola virus epidemic
|Nations with widespread cases|
|Other affected nations|
Ebola virus disease (commonly known as "Ebola") was first described in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks in the
As the outbreak progressed, many hospitals, short on both staff and supplies, were overwhelmed and closed down, leading some health experts to state that the inability to treat other medical needs may have been causing "an additional death toll [that is] likely to exceed that of the outbreak itself". Hospital workers, who worked closely with the highly contagious body fluids of the victims, were especially vulnerable to contracting the virus; in August 2014, the WHO reported that ten percent of the dead had been healthcare workers. In September 2014, it was estimated that the affected countries' capacity for treating Ebola patients was insufficient by the equivalent of 2,122 beds; however, by December 2014 there were enough beds to treat and isolate all reported cases, although the uneven distribution of cases was resulting in serious shortfalls in some areas.
The WHO has been widely criticised for its delay in taking action to address the epidemic. On 8 August 2014, it declared the outbreak a
On 28 January 2015, the WHO reported that for the first time since the week ending 29 June 2014, there had been fewer than 100 new confirmed cases reported in a week in the three most-affected countries. The response to the epidemic then moved to a second phase, as the focus shifted from slowing transmission to ending the epidemic. On 8 April 2015, the WHO reported a total of only 30 confirmed cases, and the weekly update for 29 July reported only seven new cases. Cases continued to gradually dwindle and on 7 October 2015, all three of the most seriously affected countries recorded their first joint week without any new cases. However, as of late 2015, while the large-scale epidemic had ended, sporadic new cases were still being recorded, frustrating hopes that the epidemic could be declared over.
On 31 July 2015, the WHO announced "an extremely promising development" in the search for an effective vaccine for Ebola virus disease. While the vaccine had shown 100% efficacy in individuals, more conclusive evidence was needed regarding its capacity to protect populations through