Ebola spreading in West Africa: What you need to know - LA Times Why is this outbreak so significant? The current Ebola outbreak is the deadliest in history, according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Doctors Without Borders has called the current wave “unprecedented” in geographic scope, with more than 60 outbreak sites. It is also the first outbreak to hit West Africa. Before this year, the deadliest Ebola outbreak occurred in 1976, when the disease killed 280 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since March of this year, more than double that number have died from Ebola in West Africa.