Why Ebola reaching Nigeria’s largest city is a whole new level of scary…” the virus could easily go global.”

Monday, July 28, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Gwynn Guilford
July 28,2014

Since it claimed its first victims in Guinea last March, the Ebola virus epidemic has killed 660 people in three countries and infected nearly 1,100—more lethal than any other outbreak in the virus’s nearly 40-year history.

But last week’s developments could transform this outbreak from an unusually nasty regional epidemic to something much bigger. On Jul. 24, Nigerian authorities confirmed that a Liberian man, Patrick Sawyer, had collapsed in Lagos after flying there from the Liberian capital, Monrovia, and tested positive for Ebola; Sawyer died on the night of July 24-25.

This is alarming. So far, Ebola has been confined to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia—war-torn and largely rural west African countries. But Lagos is different; not only is it Africa’s biggest city, with 21 million people. It’s also one of the world’s most densely populated. And perhaps scariest of all, it’s a center for international travel—meaning that if it’s not contained, the virus could easily go global. Sawyer’s was the first-ever recorded case of Ebola in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Tribune.

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