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22:49, 20 May 2018 Sunday
17:22, 17 May 2018 Thursday

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Past outbreaks of Ebola
Past outbreaks of Ebola

Following is a recap of past epidemics of Ebola as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) battles a new outbreak of the deadly tropical disease:

World Bulletin / News Desk

- 1976: First known outbreak -

Ebola was first identified in central Africa in 1976 and named after a river in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

It claimed 431 lives that year: 280 in the DRC (then known as Zaire) and 151 across the border in Sudan, in an area that is today part of South Sudan, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Three years later the virus reemerged in the same region of southern Sudan, killing 22.

- 1995: DRC again -
In May 1995 Ebola struck again in the DRC, in the forested region of Kikwit in its southwest. It spread quickly and lethally, killing 250 people from 315 reported cases.

- 2000-2001: Uganda -
In September 2000 the Sudan strain of Ebola fever spread for the first time to Uganda, infecting 425 people in the northern and western regions, of whom 224 died.

- 2001-2003: Gabon, Congo -
Affected by the Zaire strain of Ebola on three occasions between 1994 and 1997 with nearly 100 people dying in total, Gabon saw a sudden rise in cases between October 2001 and May 2002.

The epidemic hit the province of Ogooue-Ivindo in the northeast, an area which had previously been infected. Fifty-three of 65 people reported to have been infected eventually died.

The virus spread to neighbouring Republic of Congo where it killed 43 in 2001 and more than 150 over 2003.

- 2013-2015: Biggest outbreak -
The most deadly epidemic broke out in West Africa in December 2013 and lasted more than two years, killing more than 11,300 of the 29,000 recorded cases.

Around 99 percent of the victims came from three neighbouring countries. In Guinea, where the epidemic started, more than 2,500 died, while in Sierra Leone more than 3,900 perished and Liberia lost 4,800 people.

This toll, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says is an underestimate, was seven times the total number of deaths in previous epidemics since the virus was identified.

- DRC: Ninth outbreak -
The DRC is now facing its ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976.

The latest episode, publicly declared on May 8, has seen 44 reported cases so far with 23 deaths, according to UN figures. Its epicentre is in the Bikoro area in remote Equateur province.

On Thursday the WHO said a case had been recorded in Mbandaka, a city roughly 150 kilometres (90 miles) from Bikoro.

In 2007, the virus killed 187 people in the DRC, and 43 in 2012.

Sources: AFP, CDC, WHO



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