Tracing the rise of Ebola in West Africa

Tracing the rise of Ebola in West Africa

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Since the Ebola outbreak first emerged in West Africa, The Associated Press has been reporting on it. A timeline compiled from AP dispatches since March shows the dreaded disease being identified in a remote part of Guinea and then spreading to another country and then two more nations with authorities being alternately alarmed or confident.

The outbreak is now out of control and the U.S. is planning to send in military personnel and equipment as part of the international effort to try and bring it under control.

March 23: Guinean officials say tests confirm that it is the Ebola virus that has killed 59 people. Health officials and Doctors Without Borders establish treatment centers.

March 28: Health officials confirm Ebola has spread from a remote forested corner of southern Guinea to the country's seaside capital.

March 30: Ebola crosses the border into Liberia, where the health minister says two patients have tested positive for the deadly virus.

April 5: A crowd angry about the Ebola outbreak that is believed to have killed 86 people across Guinea attacks a center in the country where patients are being held in isolation, prompting an international aid group to temporarily evacuate its team.

May 9: The World Health Organization says health workers have made dramatic progress in controlling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in recent weeks, blaming it for at least 168 people in Guinea and Liberia. There are signs that the spread is slowing but it is not over yet, says a WHO official.

May 30: The first two Ebola deaths are reported in Sierra Leone.

June 12: The Sierra Leone government announces a state of emergency in the Kailahun district because of the Ebola outbreak which has claimed 17 lives in this West African nation, banning public gatherings and closing schools.

June 17: Ebola is now also in Liberia's capital, with a health official saying seven people have died there.

June 18: This appears to be the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded, says an American doctor who has responded to the outbreak. The World Health Organization attributes more than 330 deaths to Ebola.

June 20: The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is "totally out of control," according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says the medical group is stretched to the limit in responding.

July 23: The doctor in charge of battling Sierra Leone's current Ebola outbreak has himself become ill with the deadly disease, the country's health minister confirms. He later dies.

July 25: The outbreak spreads to Nigeria, the continent's most populous nation, after a Liberian man with Ebola takes a flight to Lagos and dies there.

July 27: One of Liberia's most high-profile doctors has died of Ebola, a government official says.

July 31: The death toll attributed to Ebola has risen to more than 700 people in West Africa and the disease is moving faster than efforts to control it, the head of the World Health Organization warns as presidents from the affected countries meet in Guinea's capital.

Aug. 17: Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital's largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including bloody sheets and mattresses.

Aug. 20: The World Health Organization says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is believed to be at least 1,350 people. The U.N. health agency also warned in its announcement that "countries are beginning to experience supply shortages, including fuel, food, and basic supplies."

Aug. 29: Senegalese officials announce that a university student infected with Ebola evaded health surveillance for weeks as he slipped into Senegal, carrying the deadly virus to a fifth West African nation. With mass quarantines, border closures and flight bans failing to contain the outbreak, public health officials intensified efforts to identify and contain the sick.

Sept. 13: Sierra Leone loses a fourth doctor to Ebola, a huge setback to the impoverished country that is battling the virulent disease amid a shortage of health care workers.

Sept. 16: The Obama administration ramps up its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.

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