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Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  

Since then, the virus has emerged periodically and infected people primarily in African countries, with some cases also reported in the US, UK, Russia, Italy and Spain, according to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention.

The largest number of fatalities were recorded in a 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa, with 4,809 people killed in Liberia, 3,956 in Sierra Leone and 2,543 in Guinea.

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