It was not too long ago when West Africa began facing the horrible Ebola epidemic that has since then only been spreading panic to the world. Not only that, people are fearing for their lives of the Zika virus that is currently spreading in the south of the Americas. It is safe to say that humans have had their fair share of epidemics throughout history, some of which has crippled the world forever. Today, we can protect ourselves and our future generations with vaccines so that viruses cannot create the same tragedy that humans has experienced too many times in the past.
To give you more of a view of our terrible history with scary viruses, here is a history lesson that will most likely help remind you to wash your hands every time after visiting the restroom: From the Black Death to Ebola – This is the list of the worst epidemics in history.
The 2014 Ebola Epidemic, West Africa, 4922 Casualties
The dreaded Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976, and since then, there has been 20 outbreaks of the disease in Africa. While a more modern disease, This extremely contagious virus attacks the internal organs and causes fever, headaches and bleeding from all body orifices. It also be worth mentioning that since there’s no vaccine or antiretroviral drugs that works against it, the disease usually has fatal consequences.
The first documented outbreaks occurred nearly simultaneously by two types of the Ebola virus: Ebola Sudan and Ebola Zaire. The second outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) between the months of August and November 1976, and after a period of 15 years with no reported cases, the disease reappeared and raged over Africa over a three-year period in 1994. However, the largest outbreak of the disease occurred in West Africa in 2014. By October 28th, of that same year, The outbreak had lead to 13703 cases, of which 4922 were fatal.
The fear of Ebola in non-endemic countries, and the possibility of using it as a biological weapon, has increased efforts to find a vaccine or cure against the disease. The identification of the source of the virus is an important factor for understanding the Ebola ecology, which could help in the development of vaccines in the future.