A farewell message from the Editor
West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, the longest and deadliest in history, is believed to have begun in the southeastern corner of Guinea in December 2013, before spreading to Liberia, Sierra Leone and beyond. Almost exactly two years later, on December 29, 2015, Guinea has been declared Ebola-free. Although the threat may never fully disappear, active transmission of the virus also appears to have largely come to a halt in the rest of the region.
During those 24 long and terrible months, the virus killed at least 11,315 people in seven countries and infected more than 28,600. It devastated communities, broke apart families and caused pain and suffering on a catastrophic scale. It sparked the largest public health mobilization since the onset of the HIV/AIDS crisis 30 years earlier. It challenged public health experts, doctors and scientists at the top of their fields. And its byproduct – fear – spread even more rapidly than the disease itself, infecting communities, policymakers and entire countries.
By all accounts, despite a rocky start to the public heath response, mankind appears to have dodged an even greater bullet after health workers, communities, health ministries, international organizations and other responders worked heroically – and often at great personal cost – to bring this horrible disease to heel.
This is the story of these 24 months. It is also the story of Ebola Deeply, which was created to provide the global public health community, and the wider public, with deeper and more contextual information about the crisis. The Ebola outbreak presented as a health crisis, but it was also a crisis of information, and our team worked around the clock to amplify the voices of those on the ground, bringing cohesion to fragmented narratives.
We have decided to sunset Ebola Deeply, but you will still be able to find all our archived articles on the science and medicine behind the response, the social and educational impact, and the human stories of health workers, community responders and survivors. We would like to thank Ebola Deeply’s founders, James Andrews, Jon Gosier, Bahiyah Y. Robinson, Lara Setrakian and Isha Sesay as well as The Rockefeller Foundation for their support, and our core team of contributors in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and beyond - Kolubah Akoi, Otis S. Bundor, Richlue O. Burphy, Cinnatus Dumbaya, Samwar Fallah, Khadijatu Mansaray, Amadou Toure and Aruna Turay - for their important, dedicated work.
Lastly, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all of the health workers, community responders, scientists, public health experts, religious leaders, international organizations, health ministries and others who worked so hard to curb the Ebola outbreak, often at great personal cost. Many of them worked quietly and diligently, away from the glow of the spotlight: we will remember them.
Please sign up for our newsletter (below) for future updates from News Deeply. News Deeply is the parent company of Ebola Deeply, and we will let you know when we launch future topics. All of our articles may be reprinted or used for teaching purposes, free of charge under a creative commons license.