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THE 2014 EBOLA OUTBREAK
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The Ebola outbreak of 2014 is one of the largest ever and is the first to hit West Africa. As of early September, the disease had been confirmed in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and a separate outbreak had begun in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the World Health Organization, the disease has infected an unprecedented number of medical staff, due partly to shortages and improper use of personal protective equipment.
Unlike the most recent previous outbreaks, which were confined to remote areas, the 2014 outbreak is affecting cities. The greater number of infections increases the likelihood that healthcare workers will come into contact with undiagnosed cases. Moreover, the symptoms of Ebola mimic those of other endemic infectious diseases; for this reason, healthcare workers may see no need to suspect Ebola. WHO reports documented cases of doctors and nurses becoming infected after rushing to the aid of patients who are visibly in distress.
Information about the 2014 Ebola outbreak appears below. All figures are the latest available as of Sept. 2.
SOURCES
WHO: Unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola,
http://bit.ly/ebola-healthcare
Washington Post: Ebola virus could infect 20,000 before outbreak is over,
World Health Organization says, http://bit​.ly/ebola-washpostsep3
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