CONAKRY (AFP) – From Guinea’s forests to Nigeria’s capital, here are the main developments since the haemorrhagic fever Ebola emerged earlier this year in west Africa.
The epidemic, the worst-ever since the virus was first identified in 1976, has killed more than 2,400 people and infected twice that number, according to a new toll released on Friday by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Another strain has also been identified separately in central Africa, where the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced its own hotspot.
– 24: Officials from Guinea’s health ministry and the WHO say that from January to March 23 the country has recorded 87 suspected cases of viral haemorrhagic fever, including 61 deaths.
Scientists studying samples in the French city of Lyon confirm it is Ebola.
– 31: Liberia confirms two cases of the virus.
– 5: West African countries mobilise, with medical teams deployed at Conakry airport.
– 26: Sierra Leone confirms its first fatality.
– 25: The virus spreads to Nigeria, as a Liberian-American dies in quarantine in Lagos. The country places its ports and airports on alert.
– 5: The World Bank earmarks up to $200 million (€150 million) to help contain Ebola.
– 8: The WHO declares the Ebola epidemic a “public health emergency of international concern”.
Nigeria follows Liberia and Sierra Leone in declaring a national emergency.
– 12: The WHO authorises the use of experimental drugs in the fight against Ebola, after an ethical debate.
– 13: Liberia receives doses of an experimental Ebola treatment called ZMapp, which has shown positive early results.
– 18-22: Several countries close their borders with the affected countries.
Liberia imposes a night-time curfew and quarantines two affected neighbourhoods.
– 27: Almost all of the major airlines still operating in Freetown, Monrovia and Conakry suspend their flights.
– 2: Medecins sans Frontieres says the world is “losing the battle” to contain Ebola.
Labour shortages and disrupted cross-border trade caused by the Ebola outbreak have sparked “grave food security concerns”, the UN says.
– 5: The EU announces €140 million ($180 million) in aid to Ebola-hit west Africa.
The WHO voices hope a vaccine could be available in November.
– 6: Sierra Leone says it will confine people to their homes in a nationwide three-day shutdown later in the month aimed at containing the epidemic.
– 8: African Union members say Monday travel bans imposed should be lifted to ensure the economic impact of the restrictions do not add to continent’s woes.
The WHO says Liberia should brace for thousands of new cases in coming weeks.
– 9: Ebola is threatening the very existence of Liberia as the killer virus spreads like “wild fire”, the defence minister warns.
The United States brings to more than $100 million the funds that the US government has spent trying to combat the outbreak.
– 10: Senegal says a Guinean student who was its only confirmed case has recovered.
– 11: Guinea announces a two-month emergency plan. The Democratic Republic of Congo ups its death toll from Ebola to 37. The outbreak is separate from the epidemic raging in west Africa.
– 12: Cuba says it will send 165 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone.
The WHO says as of September 12 there are 4,784 cases and more than 2,400 deaths, without specifying if the figures include Nigeria, in addition to Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.