Ebola virus, first identified in humans in 1976 during outbreaks in Zaire and Sudan, is native to sub-Saharan Africa.13,18,19 There are 5 distinct species of the Ebola virus, and all are pathogenic to humans except for the Reston subtype.19,20 Multiple outbreaks of Ebola virus involving humans have been reported in Africa (Sudan, Zaire, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, and multiple West African countries).13,20
Precise epidemiological data are difficult to ascertain due to weak surveillance and overwhelmed reporting systems in rural areas throughout Western Africa.6 A recent WHO study analyzed a detailed subset of data on 3343 confirmed and 667 probable EVD cases collected in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone as of September 14, 2014.21 These data provide a glimpse into the situation that occurred in Africa; however, they do not fully reveal the magnitude of the recent epidemic because of pervasive underreporting.
Case rates in children are lower than those in the adult population.22 This may be due to lower exposure risk, as they are less likely to be primary caregivers of sick family members or to be involved in funeral rituals.23 Dowell suggests that the high case rates of EVD in adults are due to lack of immunity to the disease, high exposure to infectious sources, and increased likelihood to manifest severe disease.24
Marlie Dulaurier, MD;Katherine Moyer, DO;Rebecca Wallihan, MD
July 2, 2016
August 2, 2019
4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, 4 ACEP Category I Credits, 4 AAFP Prescribed Credits, 4 AOA Category 2-A or 2-B Credits. Specialty CME Credits: Included as part of the 4 credits, this CME activity is eligible for 0.5 Pharmacology CME credits