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Can Ebola, which is currently incurable, be compared with the plague?



EbolavirusThe plague is an infectious disease caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium. In the 14th century, over a third of the European population died from the disease within just six years. The plague is still a pandemic, i.e. a disease that spreads quickly and easily over a wide area, even across continents. Like the plague, Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a highly infectious disease, but it is caused by a virus, not a bacterium. There have been repeated outbreaks of Ebola since 1976. The latest outbreak in February 2014 is the largest Ebola epidemic to date based on the number of recorded sufferers and the number of deaths. In this case, we speak of an epidemic rather than a pandemic because the disease is currently restricted to one area of the world (West Africa). As of 4 September 2014, this latest outbreak had resulted in 1,050 deaths and had infected 2,106 people.

Saskia Blank of the Ideas 2020 team answered this question.