We have known about the Ebola virus since 1976, when it was identified during an outbreak in a small town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a country that was called Zaire at the time). The name of the town – Yambuku – has passed into the pages of history. It is located on the banks of the river Ebola, from where the virus takes its name. A collaborative effort between Belgian and North American scientists led to the characterisation of this agent in 1976. It is a virus that spreads very rapidly throughout the entire organism once it has gained entry, affecting numerous organs and unfortunately leading to multiple organ failure in a very high percentage of cases.