Ebola River

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Coordinates: 3°19′24″N 20°57′38″E / 3.32333°N 20.96056°E / 3.32333; 20.96056

Ebola River
Native nameLegbala
CountryDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Physical characteristics
Length250 km (160 mi)

The Ebola River (/iˌblə/ or /əˈblə/),[1][2] also commonly known by its indigenous name Legbala,[3] is the headstream of the Mongala River, a tributary of the Congo River, in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.[4] It is roughly 250 kilometers (160 mi) in length.

The name Ebola is a French corruption of Legbala, its name in Ngbandi which means 'white water'.[5] During the Belgian administration these names were interchangeable along with the French names Eau Blanche[3] and rarely L'Ébola.[5]

In 1976, Ebola virus (EBOV) was first identified in Yambuku, 111 kilometers (69 mi) from the Ebola River, but Peter Piot decided to name it after the river so that the town would not be associated with the disease's stigma.[5] Thus, the river is eponymous to the terms Ebola virus, Ebolavirus, and Ebola virus disease (usually referred to as simply "Ebola").[6]


  1. ^ "The American Heritage Dictionary entry: Ebola". The American Heritage Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
  2. ^ "Ebola | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary". Cambridge English Dictionary.
  3. ^ a b Tanghe, Basile; Vangele, A. (June 1939). "Région de la Haute Ebola: Notes d'histoire (1890-1900)" (PDF). Aequatoria (in French). 2 (6): 61–65. JSTOR 25837382.
  4. ^ vanden Bossche, J.-P.; Bernacsek, G. M. (1990). Zaire. Source Book for the Inland Fishery Resources of Africa. 1. p. 336. ISBN 9789251029831. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Wordsworth, Dot (25 October 2014). "How Ebola got its name". The Spectator. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Ebola outbreak confirmed by DR Congo". BBC News. 2014-08-25.