n South African Medical Journal - Ebola virus disease in West Africa - an unprecedented outbreak : editorial

Volume 104, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Ebola virus disease (EVD) is one of the most feared diseases known to mankind. This is because of the high mortality rate (up to 90%) associated with the disease, and also its propensity for person-to-person spread through close contact with infected tissues and body fluids of affected persons, particularly in the unprotected home-care setting and during preparation of bodies for burial, while spread is amplified in hospitals with poor infection control practices. The disease has nevertheless remained rare since its initial description in 1976, with no more than 2 000 cases diagnosed before 2014. This is why the current outbreak of EVD in West Africa is of particular concern.

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