clock menu more-arrow no yes

The Ebola outbreak in five sentences

Monrovia, Liberia where offices and shops were closed as part of a disinfection campaign against Ebola.
Monrovia, Liberia where offices and shops were closed as part of a disinfection campaign against Ebola.
AFP/Getty Images

1) This is the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever: the disease has crossed more borders (there are now confirmed cases in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone) and has killed more people (nearly 1,000) than any other outbreak in history.

Ebolav3

2) Ebola is terrifyingly lethal, killing up to 90 percent of those infected; there are no effective treatments or cures on the market.

3) But Ebola is not actually that contagious: since transmission only happens through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person, it can be contained with simple precautionary measures and good sanitation.

4) Ebola is really a problem of broken and underfunded health systems that can't put those basic public-health measures into place.


Health_spending_per_capita_jpg
5) This is a problem shared by other diseases in Africa, which sadly kill many more people than Ebola — and rarely capture the attention of a global R&D system designed to ignore unprofitable health issues facing the poor.

Leading_cods_jpg