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Discovery of Ebola: in thermos to Europe.

How dangerous was the baggage that a Messenger on the scheduled flight from Kinshasa in the former Zaire in 1976 brought to Antwerp, no one was aware. Also Peter Piot, then young scientists at the Institute of tropical medicine in Antwerp, suspected nothing of it, as he wrote in a guest column for the financial times. The ampoules of blood were only makeshift cooled with ice, a burst of even in-flight, Piot told the broadcaster BBC. So it is surprising that none of the scientists fell ill. In the case of the then 27-year-old Peter Piot, this would have probably prevented a great career: the physician and microbiologist is today a significant AIDS-researcher. He was Executive Director of the UN programme for the fight against AIDS (UNAIDS) and is Director of the London School of hygiene and tropical medicine. Then, in September 1976, Piot had to do it with an unknown virus. His form was striking, unusually long and thready. Piot traveled to reports of other diseases and the death of a Belgian Nun with an international team in the affected region, he reported in the financial times. With a transport plane over Kinshasa, they flew to Bumba in the North of Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo. Even the pilots were afraid and ran the engines at the loading/unloading quickly to fly off, Piot recalled. In his guest post, Piot depicts also the search for the cause of the disease. The detective work was successful, relatively quickly became clear, where most had been infected patients: in the infirmary and the handling of the dead. The nuns used only five syringes and used needles several times – many people contracted at the place, where they should be cured. In the three months, which were the researchers in Yambuku, it insulated the epidemic. But they could not prevent the deaths of almost 300 people – this first outbreak is the third-largest to date. In his guest post, Piot reported how the scientists finally searched for a name for the new disease. After all the suffering they wanted to not further stigmatize residents making their village to the namesake. So they chose the next major river: Ebola. Facing the current outbreak Piot said the British channel BBC in a report some measures which were useful in the 1970s, would help even today: SOAP, gloves, patients isolate, do not reuse needles and quarantine for people who were diseased in contact – theoretically should be very easy to control Ebola. .