The Ebola virus first appeared in 1976 during two simultaneous outbreaks. The first in Nzara, Sudan and the second in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo- specifically in the Ebola River, where the virus takes its name.
The epidemic saw 318 people infected, with 280 deaths- a fatality rate of 88%. Since then there have been a total of 24 more outbreaks, predominantly in western and central Africa.
The 2014 epidemic of the disease has been the most widespread in history, with almost 20,000 cases (with the actual number thought to be significantly higher than those officially reported). Increased awareness and treatment means that the fatality rate is lower than the '76 outbreak at around 71%, but given the advancement of modern medicine, this is still extremely high.