General Article Ebola: what are the symptoms, how does it spread and where did it come from?

Topic Selected: Global Health Book Volume: 419

Ebola: what are the symptoms, how does it spread and where did it come from?

Microscopic view of the Ebola virus. jaddingt/Shutterstock

Yap Boum, Mbarara University of Science and Technology

Uganda health authorities have declared an outbreak of Ebola disease. Ebola outbreaks emerge periodically in several African countries, most notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Public health expert Yap Boum, who has been involved in managing Ebola outbreaks in the past, answers some key questions about Ebola’s history, treatment, and how to keep safe.

What are the origins of the virus?

Ebola is an old and deadly disease that was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola river in northern DRC. The virus was named after the river. It was discovered by scientists including Jean-Jacques Muyembe – a Congolese microbiologist and general director of the DRC Institut National pour la Recherche Biomedicale – and researchers from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, including Stefaan Pattyn, Guido...

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