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2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: The Facts, Arguments and Evidence

Since the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, conspiracy theorists have attributed it to American researchers conducting experiments in these countries. Some people have gone as far as alleging that the USA owns a patent for the invention of the Ebola virus, the implication being that the USA created the virus from thin air.

In November 2007, haemorrhagic fever (HF) cases were reported in Bundibugyo district of Western Uganda. Based on the blood samples that were collected from 29 suspect cases and sent in two air-transport shipments to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American scientists identified this to be an Ebola HF outbreak associated with a newly discovered Ebola virus species. Therefore, the patent was for the invention of a diagnostic method for detecting the Bundibugyo strain of the Ebola virus.1 This type of work is necessary for the development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs for Ebola. According to the inventors,

“Cross-protection studies will need to be done to assess whether vaccine designs will need to incorporate the Bundibugyo ebolavirus.”2 The virus was not invented from thin air. It was detected in the blood samples of patients who had Ebola symptoms.

In a discussion with an “internet friend”, he opined that: “The sudden outbreak of Ebola on the scale we are witnessing, coincidental with experiments in the outbreak regions would lead one to make a reasonable connection. I personally do not share

the view that the experimenters set out to cause the Ebola outbreak, only that something would have gone wrong along the way.”

A look at WHO data shows that there is enough randomness in the timing and severity of Ebola outbreaks. The Zaire strain was first detected in the Congo (DRC) in 1976. It did not appear in Gabon until 1994 (18 years later). In 1976, there were 318 cases of Ebola in the DRC. In 1977, there was only one case in the DRC. The Sudan strain was first detected in Sudan in 1976. It did

not appear in Uganda until 2000 (24 years later); 425 cases. In 2000, Sudan had been Ebola-free for 21 years. Yet, the Sudan strain ended up in Uganda.

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