The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, which saw it’s first cases appear in February 2014 in Guinea, the first time ever seen in west Africa, doesn’t appear to be close to ending as new cases are popping up in new places as we head into June 2014.

Public domain image/Mondo Magic
Public domain image/Mondo Magic

This begs to question, is this the worst EVD outbreak ever?

If we look at the number of cases in the current outbreak we see 367 total clinically compatible cases; Guinea (291), Sierra Leone (50) and Liberia (26). This number will likely rise as cases are reported in previously unaffected areas. There are more cases in the current outbreak than the first ever, 1976 Zaire outbreak that occurred in Yambuku and surrounding area where 318 cases were reported. However, it is less than the 2000-2001 Uganda (Sudan virus) outbreak where 425 cases were reported in total (the highest of any outbreak).

Concerning case-fatality rate (CFR), the 1976 Zaire case was the worst when 88% of those infected died of the most dangerous strain, Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) implicated. The current outbreak in West Africa is also caused by EBOV; however, the CFR is only at 57.7%. Granted, the first outbreak was 38 years ago and our knowledge and advances in case with this lethal virus and treating patients is different.

The West Africa outbreak may be the worst ever in the end as it is the one EVD outbreak that has crossed national borders and it is likely going to continue well into the summer and maybe beyond. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

Which EVD outbreak do you think was the worst?