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The 2014 Ebola outbreak started in Guinea in December 2013 and now Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are all severely affected. It is the largest outbreak to date, at the time of writing there were over 9,000 confirmed or suspected cases.

There is a recognition from international organisations and Governments that the investment of finances and resources must be used to tackle Ebola in West Africa. This will be how this outbreak will be brought under control.

However, there are also concerns, following a small number of travel related cases and healthcare worker infections that the risks of Ebola in unaffected countries must be addressed and prepared for.

There is no currently established treatment for Ebola or any vaccine available. There have been a number of unregistered drugs and therapies used during the current outbreak, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have decided that with safeguards in place, this can be an ethical option.

There has also been an international push to ensure research and testing can be done on these potential vaccines and treatments to have them available as soon as possible.

This note provides an overview of the disease, the international and UK responses to the 2014 outbreak and an outline of some of the experimental treatments being considered for use.

It is important to note that this is an extremely fast moving topic with information available daily. The note does not give a completely comprehensive account of the outbreak and readers should be aware of the publication date indicating when the content was last reviewed and updated.

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