Today the world is facing an unprecedented outbreak of the Ebola virus, with more than 4000 deaths so far and an estimated five new cases being reported every hour in Sierra Leone.
The strain of the Ebola virus involved in the current crisis in West Africa has a mortality rate of 50 per cent – though these rates for the outbreaks since 1976 have changed from 20 to 90 per cent.
The virus was at its deadliest when it was first discovered – in part at least because no one knew the best way to deal with it.
The recent numbers showing there have been roughly 8,376 cases and 4,024 deaths in the worst-affected West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The news comes as Liberian MPs refused to grant the president additional powers to deal with the Ebola crisis.
According to media report, the total death toll of 4,033 includes the death of a Liberian man in the United States this week and the eight people who perished in Nigeria, where health authorities say they have now contained the virus.
The UN says more than 233 health workers working in West Africa have now died in the Ebola virus, the world’s deadliest disease to date.
Earlier this week, a Spanish nurse became the first individual to contract the deadly disease in Europe.
On Thursday, Teresa Romero Ramos’ condition had deteriorated and she was now being treated with her breathing in hospital.