The Ebola virus first struck humans in northern Zaire (renamed in 1997 the Congo Republic). Of the 318 persons infected with Ebola virus in that outbreak of 1976, 88 percent died ( 1- 3). The responsible strain of this virus, called Ebola Zaire, surfaced again a year later in southern Zaire, but only one person died. The virus then lay quiescent until 1995 when it erupted to cause the most recent epidemic in southern Zaire.
In that year, the world's attention focused on Kikwit, Zaire, whose population is approximately half a million. There Ebola virus is known to have infected 316 persons, and in its wake over 244, or 77 percent, died. But certainly the numbers were greater since no one could count individuals infected and dying in the bush. Most of those infected were young adults, on average about thirty-seven years old, although the range was from two to seventy-one years of age.
In the virus-stricken city of Kikwit, there was panic. The army sealed off