Home Africa Ebola: Did it ever really go away? A timeline of key events

Ebola: Did it ever really go away? A timeline of key events


Thousands of peoplehave died from Ebola since anoutbreak erupted in West Africafour years ago.

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the epidemic overin 2016, a new outbreak has been reported intheDemocratic Republic of Congo(DRC), whereat least 44 people have been infected with the virus and 23deathsare under investigation.

Here,TheIndependentlooks at the origins of outbreak of the deadly virus, which has never really gone away.

28 December 2013

A two-year-old boy named Emile Ouamouno dies of a mysterious haemorrhagic fever in the Guinean village of Gueckedou after playing with fruit bats. Hismother, three-year-old sister, and grandmother all died shortly afterwards.

The virus begins to spread, carried to nearby villages by mourners and a healthcare worker.

23 March 2014

Guinea confirms that the disease is the haemorrhagic fever Ebola, which was first discovered in 1976. To date, it has killed 59 people in the West African country.

8 April 2014

The funeral of venerated healer Mendinor, attended by hundreds of mourners, leads to the spread of the virus to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

West African tradition demands that mourners lay hands on the corpse and each other during funerals.

24 May 2014

The Sierra Leone government decides to treat Ebola sufferers inKenemahospital, which soon becomes overrun by patients and has no strict hygiene measures in places.

Hundreds of patients and health workers die at the hospital, where the death toll stands at more than 800.

8 August 2014

The outbreak is declared an international emergency by WHO after the virus reaches the Nigerian capital of Lagos, a major industrial hub which is home to 21 million people.

24 August 2014

British volunteer nurse William Pooley becomes the first Briton to contract Ebola after working in Sierra Leone. He is flown back to the UK for emergency treatment and goes on to make a full recovery

September 2014

A major fightback begins after the humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres calls the international response slow and derisory.

Countries including the UK and US respond by constructing new treatment facilities in West Africa and training health workers in infection prevention.

7 October 2014

Fears grow in Europe when a Spanish nurse becomes the first person to contract the virus outside West Africa.

She contracted the disease after treating a priest, who was flown home to Spain after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone.

9 October 2014

The UK announces that it will introduce temperature screening for passengers arriving at Gatwick and Heathrow from West Africa.

28 December 2014

Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey is given the all-clear from Ebola at Heathrow on her return from Sierra Leone, but soon falls ill with the virus and is kept in isolation in Londons Royal Free Hospital for several weeks.

January 2015

WHO announces a turning point in the Ebola crisis, as the number of new patients falls in all three of the worst-hit countries Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

This drop is attributed to boosts in medical care and an increased caution among locals. The death toll reaches 8,800.

9 May 2015

Liberia is declared Ebola free, but cases continue in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

July 2015

Three more cases of Ebola are confirmed in Liberia, traced back to a dog meat meal they shared.

November 2015

After being declared Ebola free for a second time, three more cases emerge in Liberia.

14 January 2016

An official end to an epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people is declared by WHO after no new cases are reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in 42 days (twice the length of the viruss incubation period).

9 June 2016

Liberia is declared free from Ebola for the fourth time after a further outbreak in April.

11 May 2017

The DRC reports eight suspected cases of Ebola, including four deaths, in the province of Bas Uele. Two months later, WHO declares an end to the outbreak.

8 May 2018

An Ebola outbreak is declared in the Equateur province of the DRC, with a total of 32 suspected cases, including 18 deaths.

18 May 2018

WHO calls an emergency meeting to consider the international risks of the latest outbreak after a case of Ebola is confirmed in Mbandaka, a major city in the DRC. The current outbreak totals 44 cases, including 23 deaths.



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