Ebola Sudan: The First Ebola Outbreak Killed Hundreds

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What is Ebola Sudan? How does Sudan Ebolavirus differ from other Ebola viruses?

Ebola Sudan is one strain of Ebola virus. It was one of the earliest strains known to cause an outbreak and has a high death rate.

Read more about Ebola Sudan below.

1976: First Ebola Sudan Outbreak

The first known case of Ebola was in a man known as Yu. G., in the summer of 1976. Yu. G. lived in a southern Sudan, about 500 miles from Mount Elgon.

Yu. G. never went to the hospital—he died in a cot at home—nor was he well known outside his family and coworkers. Nevertheless, he set off an outbreak of the virus that was later named Ebola Sudan. 

No one knows where or how Yu. G. contracted the virus, but it soon spread to a few of his coworkers, from whom it spread to friends, families, and a nearby hospital. From the hospital, the virus took off through the reuse of dirty needles. 

Ebola Sudan killed hundreds of people in central Africa. The virus’s 50 percent kill rate was comparable to the bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. 

And then, suddenly, it stopped. It’s unclear why the outbreak ended, but two possible reasons are: 

  1. The hospital became the epicenter of the outbreak, and everyone at the hospital either died or fled the city. The hospital staff’s departure ceased medical procedures and the use of dirty needles, which halted the spread of the virus. 
  2. The virus may have simply been too deadly, killing its hosts so quickly that they didn’t have time to infect many other people. Additionally, the virus was only transmitted through blood, which further limited its spread.

 Just two months after the Sudan Ebolavirus outbreak ignited, Ebola Zaire appeared 500 miles away, in the mostly rural Bumba Zone of northern Zaire. Ebola Zaire was even deadlier, with almost double the kill rate of Ebola Sudan. 

Ebola Sudan: The First Ebola Outbreak Killed Hundreds

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best summary of Richard Preston's "The Hot Zone" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full The Hot Zone summary :

  • The many different strains of Ebola, including the deadliest kind with a kill rate of 90%
  • How scientists unraveled the mystery of a new strain of Ebola
  • How Ebola could become airborne, becoming one of the deadliest viruses known

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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