An outbreak of Ebola, which likely began in a rural area of Guinea in December 2013, has spread to other countries in West Africa. The outbreak is contained in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Cases have occurred in Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Spain and the US. Over ten thousand suspected and confirmed cases of Ebola have been reported and many thousands have died.
Disease control in West Africa has been difficult due to lack of healthcare resources, poor living conditions, misinformation, local traditions that increase disease transmission, and people who do not seek medical care due to distrust.
Scientists believe the source of the virus is most likely bats, and other animals can also become infected. An outbreak in humans begins when an individual or small group of people become infected by eating or handling uncooked or undercooked meat from infected game animals, such as bats and monkeys, also known as "bushmeat."
Ebola is concentrated in West Africa, where disease control is more difficult due to lack of healthcare resources, poor living conditions, misinformation, local traditions such that increase disease transmission, and lack of medical care due to distrust.
Outbreaks have been reported sporadically in West African countries since Ebola was first recognized in1976. To date, the largest outbreak began in the country of Guinea in December 2013, and spread to surrounding West African nations, with isolated travel-related cases diagnosed in Spain, Italy, the UK, and the US. In August 2014 the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). It wasn't until June 2016, after more than 28,000 cases were reported with 11,325 deaths, that all affected countries were declared Ebola-free.
Although the spread of EVD in West Africa was contained in the affected areas, additional cases may occur. On 4 April 2018, the first Ebola case of an on-going outbreak was reported in the Equateur Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The WHO, CDC and other public health organizations are actively monitoring the situation and supporting local response efforts for which Ebola treatment centers have been established and vaccination campaigns utilizing a promising experimental vaccine have been launched. As of yet the outbreak is localized and does not constitute a PHEIC.