Since a few months there is one topic, that is permanently in the news. The “new” disease (new in this context means it was discovered in the 1970’s) raging in Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone called Ebola.
First we have to distinguish between the Ebola-virus and the Ebola-disease. The Ebola-disease is a deadly fever-disease caused by the Ebola-virus with symptoms like fever, vomiting, muscle pain and diarrhea. The Ebola-virus itself is 800 nm long and one of the five viruses of the Group V.
There are over 15.000 infected people in the world, but over 99% of them live in west Africa, namely in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. Almost 5.500 of them died due to the symptoms. A big problem in these areas are the bad hygienical conditions and the lack of good care for the ill people. These problems are mainly caused by the fact that the named countries are some of the poorest countries in the world, so they just can not afford professional care on their own and are dependent on support from other countries. But there are also 4 infected people in the USA, so the virus slowly spreads into the first world, but by now there are no recorded cases of Ebola in Europe.
The Ebola-Virus is a virus from the tropical rainforests in central Africa. It spreads through direct body contact, humor and transplanted organs. It can not only spread from human to human, but also from animal to human (e.g. from monkeys) and it also infects monkeys like chimpanzees. The virus causes the deadly Ebola-disease. There are no working and proven vaccines yet, but there are many scientists doing research on it right now, because of course they want to stop the virus from spreading more than it is already. They want to stop a big epidemic before it even starts properly.