Outbreaks of Ebola virus can cause substantial morbidity and mortality in affected regions. The largest outbreak of Ebola to date is currently underway in West Africa, with 3944 cases reported as of 5th September 2014. To develop a better understanding of Ebola transmission dynamics, we revisited data from the first known Ebola outbreak, which occurred in 1976 in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).

n October 1976, the government of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC]) asked what was then the U.S. Center for Disease Control, where we worked, to join an international group of scientists in elucidating and controlling an outbreak of an unusually lethal hemorrhagic fever.

Ebolavirus (EBOV) causes severe hemorrhagic fever with a mortality rate of up to 90%. EBOV is a member of the order Mononegavirales and, like other viruses in this taxonomic group, contains a negative-sense single-stranded (ss) RNA. The EBOV ssRNA encodes seven distinct proteins. One of them, the nucleoprotein (NP), is the most abundant viral protein in the infected cell and within the viral nucleocapsid. Like other EBOV proteins, NP is multifunctional.

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa, with onset in early February 2014, is evolving in Guinea and Liberia. This is the first such outbreak in the area. The first cases were reported from the forested region of south-eastern Guinea.

Monkeypox is an enzootic disease (prevalent in animals of a particular area) that circulates in monkeys in the rainforests of central and western Africa. It was previously believed that the virus

A cholera epidemic is threatening the refugees fleeing from strife-torn eastern Zaire. The first cholera cases were confirmed last month in capital Goma. Around 36 patients with cholera-like

If the rate at which poaching is going on in the country continues, the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simium cottoni) may soon disappear from the face of the earth. Poachers recently killed a

Using S-I-R and S-E-I-R models, it was possible to simulate two Ebola outbreaks: the 1976 outbreak in Yambuku, Zaire and the 1995 outbreak in Kikwit, Zaire. The dynamics of these models are determined by the per-capita death rate of infected individuals and the per-capita effective contact rate of an individual contracting the disease.

In April, this year, a group of researchers set out for the Itombwe forest in eastern Zaire, an area known for its rare and fragile biodiversity. The team, whose trip was funded by New York's