It took months for the severity to sink in

In October searches for 'ebola' were 76x higher than in March, when reports first appeared, creating the fifth-highest spike of 2014.

The Ebola virus

A worried world

The Ebola outbreak began in Guinea and spread to neighboring countries, with isolated cases in Spain and the US. Three of the top ten searches for 'ebola' were in Japanese, though the country had no reported contact with the virus. People around the world searched to know more as news gathered momentum.

Tracing the epidemic

The early reports in March caused a surge, but it was when cases started to appear outside of Africa that searches hit a global scale.

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Initial reports
Spain accepts first patient
First case, US
'ebola virus'

The Ebola virus is a zoonotic disease known to be deadly to humans and primates. It spreads through direct contact with body fluids. 'Ebola symptoms' was third in related searches to the virus.

A hazardous materials suit is a protective whole-body garment to allow the handling of hazardous or infected materials. 'Hazmat suit' spiked by 18x this year.

WHO could help

In searches related to the virus, 'ebola spread' was the main concern, followed closely by 'ebola cure.' In October 'world health organization' peaked, as WHO battled to contain the outbreak.


It is widely believed that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural hosts of Ebola. 'Ebola bats' saw a huge increase after next to no searches in previous years.

Fact and fiction

In October searches for the 1995 movie Outbreak, in which the world attempts to control an Ebola-like virus epidemic, were 10x higher than at any point in the last decade.

The five most asked questions about Ebola:

  1. What is Ebola?
  2. How does Ebola spread?
  3. How do you get Ebola?
  4. Where did Ebola come from?
  5. What are the symptoms of Ebola?
See the 2014 lists

"work together"

President Goodluck Jonathan, speaking in October as Nigeria was declared Ebola-free, urged his countrymen to "replicate the unity of purpose and all-hands-on-deck approach in other areas of national life."

Hope for a cure

At the beginning of November, WHO announced the formal trial of a Canadian experimental vaccine that cured two Ebola patients in the US. Searches for 'ZEBOV' spiked following this encouraging news.