Between 2014 and 2016, West Africa endured an Ebola epidemic that was easily the largest and deadliest in history. Over 29,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died in what was also an economic and social calamity.
The countries most afflicted were Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea; but lives were also lost far afield. Ebola cases were detected in Nigeria, Senegal, Mali, Spain, the UK, and the U.S. This international spread unleashed its own, albeit fairly short-lived, panic.
The infectious agent that caused the outbreak was a filovirus, the Zaire species of Ebola virus (sometimes called ZEBOV and sometimes just Ebola), which has a fatality rate of up to 90 percent (Feldmann and Geisbert, 2011).
The orthodox story of the outbreaks’ origin remains the one given at the time by the global media. In the U.S., the Atlantic ran “The Beautiful Tree, the Bats, and the Boy Who Brought Ebola.”