'Out of control': How the world reacted as Ebola spread

By Jen Christensen and Debra Goldschmidt, CNN

A woman crawls toward the body of her sister as a burial team takes her away for cremation on October 10 in Monrovia, Liberia. The sister had died from Ebola earlier in the morning while trying to walk to a treatment center, according to her relatives. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Imagine – the largest Ebola epidemic in history began with the simple act of caring for a child. Soon, it spread from the child’s remote village in Guinea. And now, the infection has wiped out entire families, created thousands of orphans in its wake, and left people terrified from Dubreka, Guinea, to Dallas, Texas. Scientists predict as many as 1.4 million people could be infected if nothing is done to help. As historians look back at how the world reacted to this epidemic, they will have to decide: who stepped up, and who could have done better? Critics say reaction to this epidemic has been too slow, or efforts to fight it have been too scattered. Take a look at how this story unfolds.

Full timeline


A patient walks in the yard of an isolation ward for people suffering from Ebola at the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)

Health workers in Conakry, Guinea, teach people about Ebola and how to prevent infection. (Youssouf Bah/AP)

A scientist separates blood cells from plasma cells to isolate any Ebola RNA and test for the virus at the European Mobile Laboratory in Gueckedou, Guinea. (Misha Hussain/Reuters/Landov)


Egidia Almeida, a nurse in Guinea-Bissau, scans a Guinean citizen coming from Conakry. (Tiago Petinga/EPA/Landov)


Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the results of blood samples in Guinea. Two of the three samples tested positive for Ebola. (Danielle Dellorto/CNN)


Men on a motorcycle ride past Redemption Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia. The hospital was abandoned after a number of patients died from Ebola. (Zoum Dosso/AFP/Getty Images)


A member of Doctors Without Borders puts on protective gear at a hospital in Conakry, Guinea. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)


A woman walks near the Arwa clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The clinic was closed after a doctor became infected by Ebola. (Youssouf Bah/AP)

Disinfected boots dry in an Ebola treatment center in Kailahun, Sierra Leone. (Courtesy Tommy Trencharo)

In this undated photo provided by the charity organization Samaritan's Purse, Dr. Kent Brantly, left, works at an Ebola isolation ward outside Monrovia, Liberia. (Samaritan's Purse/Getty Images)


Decontee Sawyer, wife of Ebola victim Patrick Sawyer, cradles her 1-year-old daughter, Bella, at their home in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. (Craig Lassig/AP)


Spanish priest Miguel Pajares is transported to Madrid's Carlos III hospital upon his arrival in Spain. (Inaki Gomez/Spanish Defense Ministry/AFP/Getty Images)


The funeral ceremony for Spanish Catholic Brother Miguel Pajares takes place in the chapel of the San Rafael Hospital in Madrid. (Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images)

Ibrahim Fambulle tries to stand as a corpse lies nearby in an Ebola ward in Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)


Dr. Kent Brantly leaves Emory University Hospital after being declared Ebola-free. (David Morrison/Samaritan's Purse)

A man complains while quarantined in the West Point slum of Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Workers unload medical supplies from a USAID cargo flight in Harbel, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)


Senegalese health minister Awa Marie Coll-Seck confirms the country's first case of Ebola. (Seyllou/AFP/Getty Images)


Health workers place a corpse into a body bag in Monrovia, Liberia. (Abbas Dulleh/AP)


A high school volunteer loads medical supplies bound for Sierra Leone at a warehouse in Centennial, Colorado. (Brennan Linsley/AP)


Health workers burn used protection gear at an Ebola treatment facility in Conakry, Guinea. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)


Empty streets are seen during the government-enforced lockdown in Freetown, Sierra Leone. (Michael Duff/AP)

At a news conference in Worcester, Massachusetts, Dr. Rick Sacra describes all he was able to see of his caregivers while he was in a Nebraska isolation facility. (Stephan Savoia/AP)


A member of the Red Cross disinfects his badge after collecting a copse in Monrovia, Liberia. (Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images)

A girl cries as community activists approach her outside her Monrovia, Liberia, home a day after her mother was taken to an Ebola ward where she reportedly died. (Jerome Delay/AP)

A boy peeks out from the Dallas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, was staying. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


A man digs a grave outside an Ebola treatment center near Gbarnga, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)


U.S. Marines arrive in Monrovia, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)


A man dressed in protective clothing treats the front porch of a Dallas apartment belonging to one of the two nurses who were diagnosed with Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan. (Mike Stone/Getty Images)

A man suspected of being infected with Ebola is escorted to an ambulance in Monrovia, Liberia(Tanya Bindra for The Washington Post/Getty Images)