Timeline of the Worst Ebola Case on Record


Ten months of confusion over the outbreak of the worst Ebola case on record, from March to December 2014, exposed the world’s poor response to halt the spread of an insidious disease that killed at will.

As the virus raged following its outbreak in March, the World Health Organization admitted it botched attempts to stop the outbreak in West Africa, and blamed factors, including incompetent staff and lack of information.

In an internal draft document, the agency wrote that experts should have realized that traditional infectious disease containment methods would not work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

In this summary timeline, compiled with other agency reports, the Daily Observer presents some of the chronological developments of the spread of the virus over the ten month period since the outbreak began in March 2014.

March 22: Guinea confirms that the hemorrhagic fever that has killed more than 50 people was Ebola.

March 23: Guinean officials said tests confirmed that it is the Ebola virus that has killed 59 people. Health officials and Doctors without Borders established 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 health officials confirm two patients have tested positive to 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, Dr. Samuel Brisbane, 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.

Sept. 18: WHO says 2,630 dead out of 5,357 thought infected. United Nations Mission to combat Ebola will deploy staff in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone. Security Council wants travel, border restrictions lifted. French President Francois Hollande says military hospital will be set up in Guinea.

Sept. 19: Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, put under three-day lockdown to try to halt the Ebola spread.

Sept. 20: Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan flies from Liberia to Dallas via Brussels and Washington after trying to help woman with Ebola in his home country.

Sept. 22: WHO says outbreak largely contained in Senegal and Nigeria; says Ebola has killed more than 2,811 in West Africa.

Sept. 26: WHO says 3,091 dead out of 6,574 probable, suspected and confirmed cases. Cuba training 296 more doctors, nurses to treat Ebola in West Africa, in addition to 165 preparing to go to Sierra Leone.

Sept. 30: CDC confirms Duncan has Ebola; first case diagnosed in United States.

Oct. 1: WHO says 3,338 dead out of 7,178 cases in West Africa. Cuba sends 165 doctors, nurses to Sierra Leone.

Oct. 8: Duncan, first person diagnosed with Ebola in United States, dies in Dallas hospital. United States orders five airports to screen travelers from West Africa for fever.

Oct. 9: WHO revises deaths to 3,865 out of 8,033 cases, says no evidence Ebola is being brought under control in West Africa. Britain announces to screen travelers at London's main airports, and Eurostar rail link with Europe. Some lawmakers want United States to ban travelers from West African countries hit hardest by Ebola.

Oct. 11: New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport begins screening travelers from three West African countries for Ebola symptoms.

Oct. 15: Second Texas nurse who treated Duncan has Ebola. Amber Vinson will be treated at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital. She took flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport while running slight fever. WHO says 4,493 dead out of 8,997 cases, epidemic spreading in West Africa.

Oct. 16: U.S. congressional subcommittee questions health officials about American response to Ebola. National Institutes of Health says nurse Pham will be moved to NIH isolation unit in Bethesda, Maryland, from Dallas.

Oct. 17: WHO says 4,546 dead out of 9,191 cases. Senegal declared free of Ebola. Obama appoints Ebola response coordinator.

Oct. 19: Nigeria declared free of Ebola. Spanish nurse appears to be cured.

Oct. 20: In Texas, 43 people taken off Ebola watch lists. United States issues stricter guidelines for those treating Ebola victims.

Oct. 21: MSF to start trials of experimental Ebola drugs at its West Africa treatment centers in November. Cuba sends 53 doctors, nurses to Liberia, 38 to Guinea. As of Oct. 22, travelers to United States from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea must fly into one of five airports for enhanced screening.

Oct. 22: United States will monitor for 21 days anyone entering from three countries at center of epidemic. NBC cameraman Mukpo leaves Nebraska hospital free of Ebola.

Oct. 23: New York City doctor Craig Spencer, who treated patients in Guinea, tests positive for Ebola. Mali becomes sixth West African country hit by Ebola.

Oct. 24: Dallas nurse Pham leaves hospital free of Ebola. New York and New Jersey order quarantine of medical workers returning from Ebola-hit West African countries. Nurse Kaci Hickox tests negative and is quarantined, under protest, for two days in New Jersey. She goes to Maine, where she is ordered isolated in her home. She challenges that order.

Oct. 25: WHO says 4,922 dead out of 10,141 cases. Illinois orders quarantine of all high-risk travelers returning from Ebola-hit West African countries.

Oct. 26: Florida will monitor for 21 days people returning from Ebola-hit countries, quarantine "high-risk" individuals.

Oct. 27: U.S. Army isolating personnel returning from Ebola missions in West Africa. Australia becomes first developed country to shut its borders to areas hardest hit by Ebola; bans visas for citizens of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Oct. 28: Dallas nurse Vinson leaves Emory University Hospital free of Ebola.

Oct. 29: Quarantine-like monitoring expanded to all U.S. military personnel returning from West Africa Ebola missions. California enacts 21-day quarantine of travelers who had contact with Ebola patients.

Oct. 31: Canada stops issuing visas to people from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Nov. 3: Mali thought to be Ebola-free; officials search for 39 people who traveled on buses with child who died from virus. In Maine, nurse Hickox will not be quarantined.

Nov. 5: WHO revises deaths downward for second week running to 4,818 out of 13,042 cases as of Nov. 2. Says weekly cases rising in Sierra Leone, slowing in Liberia, Guinea is stable. Obama to ask Congress for $6.2 billion in new fiscal year to fight Ebola, sources say. China plans to send 1,000 medical workers, experts to West Africa, Xinhua news agency reports. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his country will fund treatment clinic in Sierra Leone.

Nov. 7: 4,950 dead out of 13,241 cases in worst-hit West Africa countries. Dallas declared Ebola-free.

Nov. 11: Mali confirms second Ebola case; locks down clinic. New York doctor Spencer leaves hospital free of virus.

Nov. 12: 5,147 dead out of 14,068 cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone; 13 deaths, 30 cases in five other countries. Mali's Ebola deaths rise to four; more than 90 quarantined. U.S. nurses protest over Ebola protection; Sierra Leone health workers strike over pay.

Nov. 13: Mali imposes tougher health checks at border crossings after its second outbreak. Eighty U.S. troops return to United States from Liberia and begin 21 days monitored isolation.

Nov. 14: 5,177 dead, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, out of at least 14,133 cases in all five other countries.

Nov. 15: About 160 Chinese health workers arrive in Liberia to staff new Ebola clinic built and run by Chinese personnel. Martin Salia, a Sierra Leonean surgeon who is a U.S. resident and critically ill with Ebola, is flown from his home country to Nebraska Medical Center.

Nov. 16: Liberia sets national target of no new Ebola cases by Dec. 25. United States adds Mali to countries whose travelers get Ebola screening.

Nov. 17: Dr. Salia, 44, dies at Nebraska Medical Center, the second person to succumb to Ebola in the United States.

Nov. 18: Cuban doctor Felix Baez treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone tests positive for the virus.

Nov. 19: 5,420 deaths out of 15,145 cases. WHO says Ebola transmission is "intense and widespread" in Sierra Leone.

Nov. 20: Dr. Baez is flown out of Sierra Leone for treatment in Geneva.

Dec. 5: Liberia witnesses decline of infections. From here much decline is reported throughout the country, as the US military and its Liberian counterparts complete 17 Ebola Treatment Units, along with the PR China. The GOL and UNMEER announce Kick Ebola Out! Campaign.

 Dec. 30: Fresh reports of Ebola upsurge in Cape Mount County, recording 49 cases and one case in Nimba County.



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