What is Ebola, how does it spread and how do you catch it?

Health workers in protective suits.

The recent Ebola outbreak has killed more than 1,400 people in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation.

It started in February and has spread within West Africa affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Five people have also died in Nigeria.

All schools in Nigeria have now been closed until mid-October, to try to stop the virus spreading.

A British nurse was being treated for the disease after getting infected in Sierra Leone - but there has never been a case of someone catching Ebola in Europe.

He's no out of hospital and has made a full recovery.

William Pooley: "I was very lucky."

Health experts say it is extremely unlikely it could spread to the UK because healthcare and communication is much more advanced than in West Africa.

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What is Ebola?

Ebola - or Ebola haemorrhagic fever (EHF) - is a really deadly virus: 50% to 90% of people who catch it die from it.

But there are a few forms of the virus which have been identified by scientists.

And given the right medical care and treatment, you can recover: American aid workers recover from Ebola .

Where has it come from?

Ebola was first spotted in the African countries of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976.

In the space of five months in that year, 284 people in Sudan caught the virus. It killed 117 of them.

How do you get it?

You can catch it through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person such as blood and saliva.

It is not airborne like the flu so is more difficult to catch but is very infectious: so infected people have to be kept separate to reduce the risk of it spreading.

Healthcare workers who have looked after sick patients have also been infected.

What's it got to do with animals?

It's thought Ebola is carried by animals too - chimpanzees and monkeys have been badly affected by the virus.

It is spread to humans from close contact with infected animals and can then be passed between people.

This latest outbreak has been linked with fruit bats - which are considered a tasty meal in parts of Africa.

Fruit bat Fruit bats are a delicacy in parts of Africa, but can carry Ebola

Is there a cure?

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola but a new experimental drug, ZMapp, has been used in the US on health workers and a UK nurse who caught the disease in Africa. They recovered from the virus.

You lose a lot of fluids when you have the disease so giving people enough water and nutrition is one of the main treatments.

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