Ebola basics: What you need to know

According to the WHO Ebola virus has now claimed nearly 4000 lives and affected 8000 others during the current outbreak in West Africa.  The disease itself is thought to have originated in fruit bats.  People are infected through the direct contact with broken skin, blood, urine and other bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.  It can take anywhere from 2 to 21 days for individuals with the virus to show symptoms (sudden fever, muscle pain, fatigue, headache and sore throat).

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There are currently no cures for Ebola.  The countries most severely affected by the disease in West Africa also have weak health care systems.  They are short of qualified doctors and nurses, and lack the appropriate equipment and resources to combat the virus.  As a result, this is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was discovered.

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