The Ebola outbreak in 2014 sparked new interest into the deadly virus, Ebola.  The virus was first discovered in central Africa in the mid 1970’s, and since then has had intermittent outbreaks in the region. However, the outbreak in 2014 is the worst one yet, with 3,850 deaths thus far.  There are a variety of reasons for the spread and scale of this current outbreak including the high population density, limited resourced, mistrust, and a lack of understanding how Ebola spreads. The reality of the matter is that Ebola like every other virus has distinct transmission pathways and ways of combating its spread as well as its effects on infected hosts.  By knowing when and how the virus is transmitted healthcare workers and family members can better deal with the recently deceased corpses and the infected.  The deadliness of this disease is caused by its hijacking of the macrophage defense pathways, impeding signals that would illicit an immune response in the host, by the time the host responses kick in it is often too late.  This is why over 70% of people that contract Ebola end up dying from the disease. This high mortality is why it is even more important that vaccines be put out into distribution, though the efforts have proven fruitless so far.  Molecular Epidemiology has seen great use in this current outbreak in quick identification of Ebola infections and tracking the spread of the disease itself.  Use of molecular epidemiological methods has proven useful in antibody identification for research possible vaccines as well as other methods that can help in containing and studying the disease.

The impact of this Ebola outbreak becomes apparent when looking at the cases observed in Libera.


With no vaccine for the Ebola virus disease being currently available, preventing disease and the spread of the virus is essential. Cultural and regional factors play a major role both in the occurrence of an outbreak and in its management. Prevention methods in low income countries vary from those in high-income countries, as a result of limited resources, differences in the number of people infected and in the incidence of the disease. Proper infection control must be taken by health care workers who are directly in contact with this virus. There are also several ways to prevent the spread to the community, and deter further outbreaks. Although some communities in major outbreak areas contribute to the spread of Ebola through everyday activities, some do take precautions towards extreme illnesses like Ebola.

As part of a project for Dr. Joerg Graf's "Pathogenic Microbiology" students of the University of Connecticut wrote reports about different aspects of Ebola. While we reviewed the content, this is a class project and there maybe errors and it was written during the Fall semester of 2014.

1. Ebola hemorrhagic fever:
- Disease caused by Ebola
- History of Ebola
- Are myths making the Ebola outbreak worse?
- Molecular epidemiology of Ebola
- Why is Ebola so deadly?

2. Ebola the virus:
- Structure and molecular makeup of Ebola
- Molecular pathogenesis of Ebola
- Transmission of Ebola
- Changes in Ebola in West Africa
- Other hemorrhagic fever causing viruses

3. Diagnosis of Ebola
- Clinical symptoms of Ebola
- Diagnosis of Ebola in mid/low-income countries
- Diagnosis of Ebola in high-income countries
- Virus isolation
- Immunohistochemistry

4. Prevention options:
- Current prevention options in mid/low-income countries
- Current prevention options in high-income countries
- Approaches to prevent spread to health care workers
- Approaches to prevent spread in the community
- Cultural and regional factors in spread of Ebola

5. Treatment options:
- Current treatment options in mid/low-income countries
- Current treatment options in high-income countries
- New therapeutics against Ebola
- Ethical issues about treating Ebola
- Challenges in developing treatments against Ebola