In February 2014 an outbreak of the Ebola virus was identified in the south eastern forests of Guinea.
This was the first time the virus had ever been recorded in the West African state.
By March, it had spread from the forests to the capital Conakry.
By April, cases had been identified in neighbouring Liberia.
The disease has since advanced to the capitals of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and it has killed two doctors, with two more being seriously ill.
Now Nigerian officials are racing to prevent an outbreak in Africa’s largest city after a Liberian man died in Lagos shortly after arriving at the airport last Tuesday. All its entry points were put on red alert.
Médicins sans Frontières has called this outbreak – the world’s largest recorded to date – “unprecedented”, due to its broad geographic spread.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 6 August 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to Ebola in the four countries stands at 1 779, including 961 deaths.
Ebola is a terrifying phenomenon: it kills up to 90% of infected people; death can occur in as little as a week; and, prior to death, patients may haemorrhage, bleeding internally and externally.
There is no vaccination and there is no cure.
Source: “Africa Check, a non-partisan organisation which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media. Twitter @AfricaCheck www.africacheck.org”.