2014 Ebola Outbreak: Full Coverage of the Viral Epidemic

This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) shows Ebola virus particles budding from the surface of a cell.
This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) shows Ebola virus particles budding from the surface of a cell. (Image credit: CDC/ NIAID)

The Ebola outbreak that began in West Africa in early 2014 is the worst outbreak of this virus in history. The Ebola virus has a high mortality rate: in the three countries most affected by the outbreak — Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — about 70 percent of the infected people have died. Here is Live Science's coverage of the Ebola outbreak, including our explainers, which answer common questions about Ebola, our news stories, and the opinion articles that have been published on our pages.

All about Ebola

Where Did Ebola Come From?: Myths about Ebola's origins — including some that hold that the virus was brought to African regions by health care workers — have hurt the ability of workers to respond to the outbreak. But where did Ebola really come from?

How Ebola Got Its Name: The Ebola virus that's causing the devastating outbreak in West Africa didn't even have a name just 38 years ago when it first surfaced and caused a mysterious illness among villagers in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

How Do People Survive Ebola?: There are some biological markers linked with a higher chance of surviving Ebola, experts say.

Can You Get Ebola on Public Transportation?: News that a doctor in New York with Ebola traveled on the subway the day before he developed symptoms of the disease may have some people worried about catching the disease on public transportation.

Can You Really Get Ebola from a Sneeze?: The Ebola virus can spread through contact with an infected person's blood, feces and vomit, but some information online suggests it's also possible to get Ebola by being near an infected person who sneezes.

Ebola: Here's Why Travel Bans Could Make Americans Less Safe: Despite widespread support for a travel ban, the idea could actually make the risk of Ebola greater here in the United States.

Could Ebola Become Airborne?: Could the Ebola virus, which is causing a devastating and unprecedented outbreak in West Africa, someday create a doomsday scenario by becoming airborne?

How Ebola Spreads in the US: Myth vs. Reality: Before you run out for some Lysol, please read this.

Ebola Mortality: Would Outbreaks Be As Deadly in US As in Africa?: Ebola mortality rates would be lower if an outbreak occurred in the U.S., experts say.

Ebola vs. Hemorrhagic Fever: What's the Difference?: Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever. But not all hemorrhagic fevers are Ebola.

How Do Doctors Test for Ebola?: Why can't everyone who has been with or near an Ebola patient just be tested for the virus as soon as possible?

What Causes Ebola Patients to Hemorrhage?: One of Ebola's most notorious symptoms is bleeding from places like the nose and mouth, but such bleeding has only occurred in a minority of cases in the current outbreak.

Can You Get Ebola from Sex?: Ebola can theoretically be transmitted through sexual intercourse, but there's a reason why this type of spread is particularly unlikely.

Why Isn't There a Cure for Ebola?: Ebola first appeared more than three decades ago, but there is still no cure or specific treatment for the disease.

Infographic: Protective Gear For Ebola Patient Care: Hospital workers must be careful to avoid contamination when removing their soiled protective gear.

Stunning Image: 3D Model of Ebola Virus: This image of the Ebola virus appeared on poster that received an honorable mention at the 2011 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge hosted by Science Magazine. The virus is responsible for outbreaks of fatal hemorrhage fever throughout Africa.

Ebola Reference Page: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment: Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a rare and often-fatal infection caused by one of the five strains of the Ebola virus.

News stories

November 2014

Ebola Update: Vaccines in Tests, Spike in Mali, Dips in Liberia: No cases of Ebola remain in the United States at the moment, but researchers are busy working on vaccines as the virus continues to spread in West Africa. In a few areas in Liberia, cases may be on the decline, new reports find.

To Stop Ebola, Trust in Health Care Workers Is Crucial: To stop Ebola, it's crucial for health care workers to gain the trust of the communities where they work, experts say.

Doctor with Ebola Dies in Nebraska Hospital: A doctor who contracted the Ebola virus while treating patients in Sierra Leone died early today (Nov. 17) at a hospital in Nebraska.

Ebola in Dallas: New Details Revealed in CDC Report: The details of exactly what happened in Dallas when three people there were infected with Ebola are revealed in a new report.

NYC Doctor Who Had Ebola Leaves Hospital: New York doctor Craig Spencer, who was infected with Ebola while treating patients in Guinea, is now declared free of the virus and is leaving the Bellevue Hospital Center today.

NY Doctor with Ebola May Have Recovered: The New York City doctor Craig Spencer, who was the first and so far the only Ebola patient in the city, will be released from Bellevue Hospital Center on Tuesday morning.

New Ebola Protective Gear Added to CDC Stockpile: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered $2.7 million in personal protective equipment for health care workers to wear while treating Ebola patients, the agency said today.

More Intensive Care Could Improve Ebola Survival Rates, Researchers Say: A new report of the some of the earliest cases of Ebola in the West African outbreak may hold clues to helping more patients survive.

Is Ebola Outbreak Entering New Phase?: There are positive news from Liberia, but experts warn the shift in the speed of the outbreak may be temporary. 

October 2014

How Do Ebola Vaccines Work?: Two experimental vaccines against Ebola are currently being tested for safety, and health officials have said that millions of doses could be available by the end of next year. But how do the vaccines work? 

Death or Full Recovery? Ebola Outcome May Depend on Your Genes: People infected with Ebola vary greatly in terms of how severe their symptoms are. Now a new study in mice suggests genetics may play a role in how each body fights off the virus.

Ebola 'Patient Zero': How Outbreak Started from Single Child: When Ebola virus hit a small village in Guinea for the first time, the victim was just a toddler, who later became known to the world as Patient Zero.

Stopping Ebola: How Small Changes Make a Big Difference: Small changes in the way Ebola interventions are carried out may make a big difference in curbing the growth of the epidemic in West Africa, experts said this week.

Ebola Recovery: How Did Dallas Nurses Get Well So Quickly?: Two Dallas nurses who became infected with Ebola this month may have recovered so quickly because of their youth, as well as the protective equipment they were wearing at the time of infection.

2nd Dallas Nurse Free of Ebola: Amber Vinson has recovered from the virus, and will be discharged from Emory University Hospital, the hospital said.

CDC Issues New Guidelines for Travelers from Ebola-Outbreak Countries: New guidelines for people who enter the U.S. from the countries in West Africa where the Ebola outbreak is ongoing will require that some travelers undergo "active monitoring" of their health for 21 days, officials said today.

Ebola in NYC Is 'No Cause for Alarm,' Mayor Says: A New York City doctor who recently returned from Guinea in West Africa became the first person in the city to test positive for Ebola, on Thursday Oct. 23, but authorities are emphasizing that there is no cause for alarm.

Dallas Nurse Nina Pham Free of Ebola: 'I Feel Blessed': Nina Pham, the first nurse in Dallas to be infected with Ebola, is now free of the virus, and will be released from the hospital today, officials said.

NYC Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola: A doctor in New York has Ebola, officials announced on Thursday evening (Oct. 23). 

'Catastrophic' Ebola Toll in Liberia Is Predicted Unless Aid Scales Up: A substantial and quick scaling up of Ebola interventions is needed to prevent a catastrophic number of cases and deaths from the disease in parts of Liberia, a new study suggests.

Ebola Suspected in NY Doctor: A doctor who recently arrived in the United States from West Africa is being tested for Ebola at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, according to the city's health department.

How Some Exposure to Ebola Could Lead to Immunity: Epidemics like Ebola often start when people make contact with animals carrying infectious diseases, but, paradoxically, a certain amount of human exposure to a virus at its source can actually also prevent the extensive spread of a disease.

Man Recovers From Ebola in Germany After Routine Intensive Care: One man who contracted Ebola and even had further complications of the infection has now recovered after receiving routine intensive care at a hospital in Germany.

Daily Ebola Checks: Everyone Arriving from West Africa Will Now Be Monitored: All passengers arriving from West African countries where the Ebola outbreak is ongoing will be monitored for 21 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today (Oct. 22).

How a Liberian Rubber Plant Prevented Ebola Spread: The rate of Ebola cases in a part of Liberia where one rubber tree plantation operates is far lower than in other parts of the country.

CDC Updates Its Ebola Guidelines for Health Care Workers: To better protect health care workers from Ebola, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines about wearing personal protective equipment.

Ebola Airport Screening Prevents 3 Cases Per Month from Traveling: If the Ebola screening currently taking place at airports in West Africa were to stop, about three people with the disease would travel by plane to a new country each month.

Nigeria: How Ebola Was Contained in Africa's Largest City: Now that 42 days have passed without any new cases of Ebola in Nigeria, the country is officially Ebola-free, the World Health Organization declared today.

Ebola Q&A: Why Virus Is a Bigger Threat to Health Care Workers: Although Ebola is not a very contagious virus in general, it carries a higher risk for health care workers than for the general public. Here's what we know about Ebola's risk to health professionals.

Ebola Outbreak Was Quickly Contained in Congo: How?: While three nations in West Africa are struggling with the Ebola outbreak, another outbreak of the virus, in Central Africa, was quickly contained. Now, new studies confirm that the two outbreaks were unrelated, and offer explanations why one was contained, while the other spiraled out of control.

Ebola Patient 'Should Not Have Traveled By Plane,' CDC Director Says: The second health care worker to test positive for Ebola should not have traveled on a plane from Ohio to Texas the day before she showed symptoms of the disease, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

Ebola Patient Flew on Plane Before Symptoms: A health care worker who tested positive for Ebola flew on a plane the day before she developed symptoms of the deadly disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today.

2nd Texas Health Care Worker Tests Positive for Ebola: A second health care worker in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola after tending to the man from Liberia who had the disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

Ebola in Texas: Health Officials Taking Steps to Improve Hospital Safety: Health officials are making immediate enhancements to improve safety at U.S. hospitals that treat Ebola patients after a nurse became infected with the virus.

Ebola Outbreak: Why It's So Important to Find Patient Zero: The current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 4,000 people, but it started with one person: a 2-year-old child who died on Dec. 6, 2013.

'Biggest Risk' in Ebola Protection Is Gear Removal: A "breach in protocol" led a nurse in Dallas to become the first person infected with Ebola in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Could Statins Treat Ebola?: Statins should be considered as a possible treatment for Ebola, some researchers argue.

Ebola Update: Only 1 Person Had Contact with Infected Nurse: Only one person has had contact with the second case of Ebola in Dallas when she might have been contagious, health officials said today.

2nd Person in US Tests Positive for Ebola: A second person in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola after coming in contact with a man from Liberia who was infected with the deadly virus, officials said today.

Why Are We So Afraid of Ebola?: Despite reassurances from health officials that Ebola is unlikely to spread in the United States, concerns about the disease in this country have grown. Why does Ebola scare us? 

Could Ebola Really Be the 'Next AIDS'?: The Ebola outbreak has been escalating in the past few months, but could it cause a global pandemic similar to that of AIDS, as was suggested by a top public health official?

Ebola Screening Will Start in 5 US Airports: Five U.S. airports will implement screening procedures to check travelers for Ebola starting this week, officials said.

Texas Ebola Patient Dies: Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who was being treated for Ebola in Texas, died today, according to the hospital,

No Signs of Ebola Virus Among Texas Contacts: People who had contact with the man with Ebola in Texas are still being monitored daily and none has shown any sign of disease so far, the CDC says.

1976 Ebola Outbreak's Lesson: Behaviors Must Change: Scientists involved in fighting the first outbreak of Ebola in 1976 are pointing to a crucial difference between that outbreak and the current one West Africa: the behavior changes among the affected communities.

Texas Patient Has 'Taken a Turn for the Worse': The man with Ebola in Texas has taken a turn for the worse, officials said today.

46 People in Texas Being Monitored for Ebola, Family Has Been Moved: There are now 46 people in Texas being monitored for signs of Ebola because they had definite or possible contact with the man in Texas who has Ebola, officials said today (Oct. 4).

50 People in Texas Now Being Watched for Ebola Virus: Health officials are monitoring people who came in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who was the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States.

Ebola Ruled Out for Hawaii Patient: Health officials in Hawaii said they have determined a man hospitalized in isolation is no longer being evaluated for Ebola.

Ebola in Texas: Most of the Patient's Contacts Have Been Interviewed: As many as 100 people may have come into contact with the Ebola patient in Texas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ebola in a Hawaii Patient? Much Too Early to Know, Officials Say: A patient in Hawaii has been put in isolation over concerns of Ebola, but it is too early know what condition is causing his symptoms, the state health officials said.

Ebola Isolation Procedures: A Close Look: The first patient to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States is receiving treatment while isolated in a Texas hospital, but what does such isolation involve?

September 2014

Ebola Update: 1st Case Diagnosed in the US: A man in Texas is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ebola Epidemic: The Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios: The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could be brought to an end by late January, but only if efforts to fight the disease's spread continue to scale up, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ebola Outbreak 'Spiraling Out of Control,' President Obama Says: If the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not stopped now, hundreds of thousands of people in the region could be infected with the deadly virus, President Obama said today.

Grim Ebola Prediction: Outbreak Is Unstoppable for Now, MD Says: A doctor who just returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa predicts the current Ebola outbreak will go on for longer than a year, and won't be stopped without a vaccine or drugs against the disease.

Ebola Survivor Nancy Writebol Tells of Her Tough Battle: Ebola survivor Nancy Writebol and her husband held a news conference today about their battle with the deadly disease.

Third American Ebola Patient Is Named: A 51-year-old doctor who resides Boston has become the third American health care worker to contract Ebola during the current outbreak in West Africa.

Ebola Cases Likely to Increase in Coming Weeks, CDC Director Says: The number of people infected with Ebola in West Africa will likely increase significantly over the next few weeks, according to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

August 2014

Ebola Outbreak: Do Hazmat Suits Protect Workers, or Just Scare Everyone?: Wearing full-body hazardous material suits around patients with the Ebola virus may be counterproductive to treating the disease, some researchers say. But other health experts, wary of wearing less protective gear, disagree.

Ebola Drug 'ZMapp' Saves Infected Monkeys, Study Shows: A cocktail of three antibodies against the Ebola virus has successfully treated 18 infected monkeys, researchers reported today. The new results raise hope for the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone Began at a Funeral: An extensive look at the genome of the Ebola virus reveals its behavior, when it arrived in West Africa and how it spread in the region to cause the largest-ever recorded Ebola outbreak.

American Ebola Survivors Are Likely Immune to Virus Strain Now: Experience with Ebola survivors in Africa suggests that the two American Ebola patients who recovered from the disease are now immune to the strain of the virus that infected them.

Cured Ebola Patient: 'God Saved My Life': Dr. Kent Brantly, an American doctor who contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa, is cured of the disease and was released today from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Ebola Unlikely to Spread on Planes, Health Agency Says: The chance that a person with Ebola will spread the disease on an airplane is small, according to a new statement from the World Health Organization.

Nano Silver? Nigeria's Potential Ebola Treatment Unlikely to Work: An experimental nano silver medication that Nigeria is planning to give to Ebola patients is unlikely to work.

Watch for Fake Ebola Cures Online, FDA Warns: There is no approved treatment for patients infected with the Ebola virus, but that hasn't stopped online dealers from offering products they claim will prevent the virus or treat people who have the infection.

Should Controversial Ebola Treatment Be Given to More Patients?: Giving experimental treatments to patients infected with Ebola in West Africa is, indeed, the ethical thing to do, even though the risks and benefits of these treatments are unknown, a panel of experts has decided.

Ebola Bomb: Possible, But Not So Easy to Make: Some sources have suggested that Ebola could be used in a terrorist attack, but bioterrorism experts say that weaponization of the deadly virus is unlikely.

Are Experimental Ebola Treatments Ethical?: A panel of experts will assemble next week to discuss the ethics of using experimental treatments for Ebola during the current outbreak in West Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

Ebola 'Experimental Serum' in Limited Supply, CDC Says: The 'experimental serum' that doctors gave to two American patients who contracted Ebola is in very limited supply, and it will not be available for general use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ebola Serum: Explaining the Americans' Experimental Treatments: Two Americans from a medical charity who contracted Ebola have been given experimental treatments, but the method, even if it did work, couldn't be scaled up.

July 2014

How the Ebola Outbreak Became Deadliest in History: The reasons why the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has grown so large, and why it is happening now, may have to do with the travel patterns of bats across Africa and recent weather patterns in the region, as well as other factors.

CDC Warns Against Travel to Ebola-Affected Countries: Americans should avoid traveling to the three West African countries experiencing an outbreak of Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

Stopping Deadly Ebola Outbreak Will Be a 'Marathon,' CDC Says: The deadly Ebola virus is one flight away from the United States, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not as concerned about home country as it is for West African countries with weaker healthcare system.

Lead Ebola Doc in Sierra Leone Contracts Virus: The doctor leading the response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has been infected with the highly lethal virus, according to news reports.

June 2014

Could Ebola Spread to the United States?: An outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is now the largest in history, but how likely is it to spread to the United States or other countries around the world?

May 2014

Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise in Chimp Study: A vaccine against Ebola virus that uses so-called virus-like particles instead of live, infectious virus triggers promising immune reactions in laboratory chimpanzees, researchers say.

April 2014

Ebola Risk Pushes Bats Off the Menu in Ghana (VIDEO) : Bushmeat is still on sale in Ghana despite worries that fruit bats and other bushmeat may be behind the spread of an Ebola outbreak in nearby Liberia and Guinea which has claimed around a hundred lives.

Ebola Outbreak in Africa Is 'One of Most Challenging Ever Faced': The Ebola outbreak in Guinea and Liberia has claimed more than 100 lives, and rumored cases in nearby countries are under investigation.

March 2014

Bat Soup Blamed as Deadly Ebola Virus Spreads: An outbreak of the Ebola virus has claimed at least 63 lives in the nation of Guinea. To combat the spread of this deadly disease, officials have taken the unusual step of banning the consumption of bat soup, grilled bat and other local delicacies.

Ebola Outbreak Spreading in Africa: An Ebola outbreak in Guinea has killed at least 34 people and sickened 49, and some are worried it may have spread to neighboring Sierra Leone.

Op-Eds and Expert Voices

To Fight Ebola, Battle the Brain's Bias for Mistrust (Op-Ed): To fight Ebola fear, the mind must receive messages it trusts.

Can You Really get Ebola From Your Dog? (Op-Ed): Can you get Ebola from your pets?

How Animals are Affected by Ebola — in West Africa and Abroad (Op-Ed): Local heroes are looking out for animals as Ebola spreads through West Africa.

With Ebola, Are Bats Getting a Bad Rap? (Op-Ed): The unpredictable nature and novelty of zoonotic pathogens make them incredibly difficult to defend against and respond to. But that does not mean we are helpless in the face of emerging ones.

Quarantine Works Against Ebola but Overuse Risks Disaster: As people are infectious only once they develop symptoms, isolating them and having health-care workers use personal protective equipment significantly reduces the risk of onward transmission. By Grant Hill-Cawthorne, University of Sydney

As U.S. Fights Ebola, NGOs Breathe Easier (Op-Ed): The American commitment to fighting Ebola matters — it's more than a shot in the arm. By Dr. Matthew Bank, North Shore University Hospital

4 Ethics Lessons From the Ebola Outbreak: The extent of the current Ebolavirus outbreak in West Africa has belatedly focused the attention of non-governmental organisations, local and Western governments, and international media. By Ian Kerridge, University of Sydney and Lyn Gilbert, University of Sydney

What Happens to Your Body When You Get Ebola?: Before a person knows they are sick, the Ebola virus begins attacking the immune system. By Derek Gatherer, Lancaster University

Ebola Treatment May Be On the Horizon (Op-Ed): A new treatment may finally provide doctors with a way to combat Ebola virus. By Jeff Nesbit

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