Ebola outbreak: Six surprising numbers

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mobile phones needed

The medical teams now being sent to the affected countries need mobile phones to pass on vital information about how the disease is spreading, especially in remote areas.

Figure from Ocha

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1 in 50

Liberian health workers infected

Ebola is transmitted through patients' body fluids, leaving health workers particularly vulnerable to the disease. Where medics have lacked adequate protection, their rate of infection has been higher.

Figure from Ocha

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cost of a full protective suit

The suit must be worn by medical personnel to protect against infection. It includes a protective mask, goggles, apron, gloves and rubber boots.

Figure from Medecins Sans Frontieres

Image copyright AFP

90 days

without sex for survivors of Ebola

The Ebola virus can remain present in semen for a long time. Experts say it is best for men who are recovering from the disease to avoid sex altogether - or make sure they use a condom - for 90 days.

Figure from Peter Piot, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who discovered Ebola in 1976

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people infected by each Ebola sufferer in Liberia

The figure of 1.7 means that, on average, every 10 people infected with Ebola in Liberia will have passed the disease on to 17 others. This figure is known as a basic reproduction number. It is used to measure the rate at which an epidemic spreads through a susceptible population. The number fluctuates as scientists keep monitoring new cases.

By comparison, measles - a highly contagious disease - can have a reproduction number of between 12 and 17.

Figure from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Image copyright EPA


burial kits needed

The bodies of Ebola victims remain infectious after death. Safe burials are key to checking the spread of the disease.

Figure from UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha)