2014 West Africa Outbreak


Outbreak map




Ebola, previously known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a rare and deadly disease. Ebola was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically in Africa.

  • October 23, 2014 - The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported a case of Ebola in a medical aid worker who had returned to New York City from Guinea, where the medical aid worker had served with Doctors Without Borders.
    • The diagnosis was confirmed by CDC on October 24.
    • The patient has recovered and was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center on November 11.
  • October 15, 2014 – A second healthcare worker who provided care for the index patient at Texas Presbyterian Hospital tested positive for Ebola.
    • This second healthcare worker was transferred to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
    • The healthcare worker had traveled by air from Dallas to Cleveland on October 10 and from Cleveland to Dallas on October 13. CDC worked to ensure that all passengers and crew on the two flights were contacted by public health professionals to answer their questions and arrange follow up as necessary.
    • The patient has since recovered and was discharged on October 28.
    • By November 3, all passengers on both flights completed the 21-day monitoring period.
  • October 10, 2014 – A healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient tested positive for Ebola.
    • The healthcare worker was isolated after the initial report of a fever and subsequently moved to the National Institutes for Health (NIH) Clinical Center.
    • The patient has since recovered and was discharged on October 24.
  • September 30, 2014 – CDC confirmed the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States in a man who had traveled to Dallas, Texas from Liberia.
    • The man did not have symptoms when leaving Liberia, but developed symptoms approximately four days after arriving in the United States.
    • The man sought medical care at Texas Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas after developing symptoms consistent with Ebola. Based on his travel history and symptoms, CDC recommended testing for Ebola. The medical facility isolated the patient (i.e., index patient) and sent specimens for testing at CDC and at a Texas laboratory.
    • Local public health officials identified all close contacts of the index patient for daily monitoring for 21 days after exposure.
    • The patient passed away on October 8.
    • By November 7, all contacts of the patient completed the 21-day monitoring period.

Symptoms of Ebola include

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.



When an infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread to others through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected fruit bats or primates (apes and monkeys)


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