The first instance of the most recent Ebola outbreak was reported in March of 2014, spanning multiple countries in West Africa. Since then news outlets, government agencies and the general population have been focusing on the progress of the disease, how to avoid contracting the illness, and what should be done about the current outbreak. In the United States there is little risk of coming in contact with the disease, although there have been eight Ebola patients (with two deaths) within the U.S. since the most recent outbreak began. The highest concentration of this disease is currently found in West Africa, mainly in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leon. While this is the largest outbreak in history there is little cause for worry within the U.S.
When the Ebola virus is contracted by a human, it can then spread to others through direct contact with blood or body fluids and objects contaminated with the virus. The disease can also be contracted when in contact with infected fruit bats or primates. Ebola is not spread through air, water or general foods, and there is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects are capable of transmitting the virus. Because of this, most people just living their daily lives will not be at risk of contracting the disease.
As of November 14, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted Ebola has spread to Mali, where there are four reported cases and three reported deaths. There has also been one case reported in Spain, on October 6, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). No cases have been reported in the U.S. since October 1, 2014, and the United States is currently free of reported cases of Ebola. According to the WHO, a total of 15,351 cases of the Ebola virus have been reported in six countries, as of November 18, 2014.
Although an outbreak of disease may seem scary and is certainly cause for concern and greater attention to safety, modern medicine is capable of controlling the disease to avoid a worldwide outbreak. As the disease’s stronghold and thus news coverage lessens, don’t neglect stay up to date on reported Ebola cases throughout the world, especially if you are traveling.