Friday, September 26, 2014

CDC: Their Could be 1.4 million Ebola cases by the New Year

If the world doesn't get the Ebola outbreak in West Africa under control quickly, the disease could become a permanent fixture in the region, spreading as routinely as malaria or the flu, the World Health Organization warns Tuesday in a new report.
In the worst-case scenario – if nothing is done to effectively control the outbreak — there could be 1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That sort of exponential increase in cases makes it more likely that Ebola will become entrenched in West Africa, said Robert Murphy, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at Northwestern University.
If there are hundreds of thousands of Ebola cases, then "many more countries will have cases, and it won't be just West Africa," Murphy said. "There is so much mobility now, this can spread anywhere."
CDC officials say it's still possible to avoid this worst-case.
"It is still possible to reverse the epidemic, and we believe this can be done if a sufficient number of all patients are effectively isolated, either in Ebola Treatment Units or in other settings, such as community-based or home care," said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Once a sufficient number of Ebola patients are isolated, cases will decline very rapidly – almost as rapidly as they rose. … A surge now can break the back of the epidemic."
The notion that Ebola could become endemic in West Africa —— spreading routinely, rather than in sporadic outbreaks — is "a prospect that has never before been contemplated," according to a report published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
There could be 20,000 cases by Nov. 2, with thousands of new cases per week, the report said. About 70% of patients are dying from the illness.
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