Ebola Timeline

History of a Virus
See when and where the Ebola virus has struck over the years.

1 / 7 History of a Virus

As just about everyone knows, Ebola is all over the news these days. But you may not know that 2014 isn’t the only time the virus has made headlines—nor is it the first time it’s been recognized in the US. Check out this timeline of Ebola outbreaks since the disease was first discovered nearly 40 years ago.

Related: Ebola Explained in 5 Clicks

1976: Ebola First Identified

2 / 7 1976: Ebola First Identified

The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola, a fever that causes hemorrhaging, showed symptoms after being treated for malaria in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo), near the Ebola River. Of the 318 cases that followed, nearly all had either received injections at the same hospital or had close contact with another patient. The clinic was closed, and 280 people died.

Related: What causes Ebola?

1989-1990: Ebola Strain is ID’d in US Labs

3 / 7 1989-1990: Ebola Strain is ID’d in US Labs

Monkeys imported from the Philippines and infected with Ebola-Reston, a strain of Ebola, introduced the virus in Virginia, Pennsylvania and later, Texas. Luckily, none of the lab workers who came in contact with them became sick. More study of Ebola-Reston is needed to understand its dangers to humans.

Related: Is there a cure for Ebola?

1996: Ebola Spreads to South Africa

4 / 7 1996: Ebola Spreads to South Africa

After eating a chimp found dead in the forest, a group of Gabon hunters contracted Ebola. More people became ill a few months later, again contracting the virus from a dead chimp. One healthcare worker from South Africa treating Gabon patients fell ill, and a nurse treating him contracted the virus and died. In all, at least 67 people died from the epidemic.

Related: Know the symptoms of Ebola

2000-2003: Outbreaks Continue

5 / 7 2000-2003: Outbreaks Continue

Outbreaks of various strains of Ebola occurred in Uganda, Gabon and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Of the 725 reported cases, 477 people died.

Related: What increases my risk for Ebola?

2014-2015: Widespread Ebola Outbreak

6 / 7 2014-2015: Widespread Ebola Outbreak

Starting in March 2014 and continuing through much of 2015, Ebola outbreaks caused thousands of deaths in several African countries, including Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Isolated cases spread outside the region, including to the U.S., as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations worked to contain the virus. Health authorities began testing experimental Ebola vaccines in Africa as the outbreak started to wind down.

Related video: How Close Are We to Developing an Ebola Vaccine?

2016: WHO Says Ebola No Longer a World Health Emergency

7 / 7 2016: WHO Says Ebola No Longer a World Health Emergency

On March 29, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the end of the global health emergency of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The WHO noted, though, that small clusters of cases will likely continue to flare up. The organization also warned male survivors they could spread Ebola to their sexual partners for up to a year after recovering.

Continue Learning about Ebola

Ebola: The New STD?
Ebola: The New STD?
Two Ebola cases appeared unexpectedly in West Africa in April 2015. Both cases involved women who had no known risk factors for the Ebola virus. Both ...
Read More
How is Ebola diagnosed?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Diagnosing Ebola in the early stages can be difficult, because the symptoms, such as fever and sever...
More Answers
Ebola Explained in 5 Clicks
Ebola Explained in 5 ClicksEbola Explained in 5 ClicksEbola Explained in 5 ClicksEbola Explained in 5 Clicks
What you need to know now about the Ebola virus.
Start Slideshow
Why Do We Need Specialized Facilities to Treat Ebola?
Why Do We Need Specialized Facilities to Treat Ebola?