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October 24, 2014
Paper collates all known human outbreaks of Ebola for the first time

A new paper by Mylne et al, 'A comprehensive database of the geographic spread of past human Ebola outbreaks' published in Scientific Data, collates our existing knowledge of all known human outbreaks of Ebola for the first time by extracting details of their suspected zoonotic origin and subsequent human-to-human spread from a range of published and non-published sources.

In total, 22 unique Ebola outbreaks were identified, composed of 117 unique geographic transmission clusters. Details of the index case and geographic spread of secondary and imported cases were recorded as well as summaries of patient numbers and case fatality rates. A brief text summary describing suspected routes and means of spread for each outbreak was also included.

While the ongoing Guinea and DRC outbreaks cannot be included until they are over, these data and compiled maps can be used to gain an improved understanding of the initial spread of past Ebola outbreaks and help evaluate surveillance and control guidelines for limiting the spread of future epidemics.