The worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in history has so far claimed nearly 5,000 lives, with at least 10,000 reported cases mostly in West Africa.
- African Ebola Survivors Share Their Stories of Recovery and Stigma (25 August 2014)
International health authorities alongside local medical personnel have been fighting to contain the spread of the deadly virus for several months with mixed results. When Ebola arrived in the bustling Nigerian metropolis Lagos in July, the country's officials acted quickly and successfully stamped out a potential epidemic.
- Beyond an Ebola-Free Nigeria (20 October 2014)
- Preventing Ebola in Nigeria With Ebola Alert Twitter Feed (20 October 2014)
- Ebola Scare: Trapped on the Cameroon/Nigeria Border for Over 40 Hours (28 August 2014)
- Nigeria Successfully Curtails Ebola to One Patient (27 August 2014)
- With Doctors on Strike and Boko Haram on the Loose, Nigerians Fear an Ebola Outbreak (29 July 2014)
But the outbreak has reached alarming levels in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where healthcare systems are ill-equipped to tackle the disease thanks to poor investment in health and education and years of civil war. Wealthier countries and World Health Organization have faced criticism for not lending support sooner to stop the epidemic before it got out of hand.
- Guinean Cities Keep a Strong Heart Despite Ebola Epidemic (11 October 2014)
- Surviving Sierra Leone's Three-Day Ebola Lockdown (30 September 2014)
- Threats to Press Freedom in the Fight Against Ebola in Liberia (19 September 2014)
- As Ebola Strikes, a Guinean Blogger Laments the Country's Lack of Online Community (5 September 2014)
- The Heroic Everyday Work of Lab Scientists in the Fight Against Ebola in Liberia (23 August 2014)
- 4 Infographics on the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (10 August 2014)
- Mapping the 567 Ebola Cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (24 July 2014)
- Ebola Virus Outbreak Kills 59 in Guinea, Closes in on Conakry (24 March 2014)
Mali is currently fighting to contain the disease after confirmation of its first Ebola case. The Democratic Republic of Congo is also experiencing an outbreak of Ebola, but the virus strain there is unrelated to the one responsible for the West Africa epidemic.
Facts vs. myths
There is no cure for Ebola, but potential vaccines are being studied. The virus is transmitted through direct contact with infected blood and other bodily fluids, and the bodies of recently deceased victims are highly contagious. Despite what some may think, mosquitoes do not carry Ebola. Health officials recommend frequent hand-washing, avoiding direct contact with an Ebola patient or with items that have come in contact with an Ebola patient, and seeking treatment immediately after symptoms arise as the best course of action to protect yourself.
- Ebola Strips Africans of Their Cultural and Human Values (9 October 2014)
Misinformation abounds about Ebola. Survivors are often stigmatized despite being free of the disease, and people from the affected countries who do not have Ebola have encountered maltreatment because of their nationality. In Sierra Leone, Hannah Foullah is using Facebook to fight Ebola-related stigma with the campaign “Beauty for Country: I am 100% Sierra Leonean, Not a Virus.”
- West Africans Keep Calm Despite Ebola and Remind the World Who They Are (24 October 2014)
- Animated Video Dispels Ebola Myths (14 October 2014)
Media outlets and governments have been accused of irresponsibly hyping panic over the disease. Some politicians, especially in the United States, have proposed implementing a blanket ban on air travel from West African countries, even though it would most likely worsen the situation.
Several campaigns are underway in the affected countries and throughout Africa to educate the public about the facts of the virus.
- False Ebola Alarm Provides Convenient Distraction for Macedonia From Unflattering EU Report (20 October 2014)
- Hacking Against Ebola (20 October 2014)
- Questioning Weekend's Media Silence About Ebola (27 September 2014)
- Are Madagascar's Health Care Facilities Ready for Possible Ebola Outbreak? (25 September 2014)
- Ebola Hasn't Reached the Gambia, and People Are Working to Keep It That Way (18 September 2014)
- From Liberia to South Korea, West Africa's Ebola Outbreak Is Met With Ignorance and Paranoia (1 September 2014)
- Deadly Diseases, Violent Conflicts and White Saviors: Hollywood's Skewed Portrayal of Africa (18 August 2014)
But some observers fear not enough is being done to stop the spread of Ebola. Keep with Global Voices for more coverage of the Ebola outbreak.
For further information on the virus in English, check out the websites for the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control. For information in French, visit the website for France's Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women's Rights.