West Africa is currently experiencing the largest outbreak of Ebola since the disease was identified almost 40 years ago. We've been following the news since the original cases were reported in Guinea over three months ago, and our thoughts are with our friends and partners working in Sierra Leone and Liberia. With new information coming out everyday, below is a quick breakdown of the latest out of West Africa as well as a few maps that help to illustrate the burden, spread, and history of the outbreak.
- Largest single outbreak in history
- Total deaths: 729
- Total infected: 1,323
- Countries affected: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, (Nigeria)
- Sierra Leone declared a state of emergency, deploying security forces and quarantining communities where cases have been confirmed
- Liberia has closed all schools, sent nonessential government personnel home, deployed security forces, and closed all borders
- Peace Corps removes 340 of its volunteers in the three countries
- Renown Liberian doctor Samuel Brisbane, who was leading efforts in the country, dies from Ebola; two American health workers are being flown home to receive treatment
- West African airline Asky bans West African flights; Nigerian aviation authorities are checking all passengers coming from the three countries and enforcing mandatory testing on those with worrisome symptoms
- West African leaders are meeting in Guinea
For general information about Ebola, the best place to start it the WHO's Ebola Fact Sheet. The BBC has also put together a short video "In 60 seconds: What is Ebola?" and National Geographic sat down with W. Ian Lipkin, the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, for a Q & A about the outbreak.