CDC: Up to 1.4 million Ebola cases coming

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated Tuesday that up to 1.4 million people in West Africa could become infected with Ebola by the end of January if there are no changes in behavior.

“The findings in this report underscore the substantial public health challenges posed by the predicted number of future Ebola cases,” wrote CDC researchers. “If conditions continue without scale-up of interventions, cases will continue to double approximately every 20 days, and the number of cases in West Africa will rapidly reach extraordinary levels.”

Using the agency’s model, between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in Liberia and Sierra Leone could become infected.

However, the report does not account for recent commitments by the United Nations and U.S. government to do more to combat the deadly virus. And some analysts say the numbers are inflated because they don’t reflect new measures residents in West Africa have taken to avoid contracting Ebola.

“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,” CDC Director Tom Frieden cautioned. “Once a sufficient number of Ebola patients are isolated, cases will decline very rapidly – almost as rapidly as they rose.”

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 5,800 people have been inflected with Ebola, including 2,800 deaths.

Last week, President Obama announced plans to deploy 3,000 military officials to West Africa to stop the spread of Ebola, in addition to constructing more than a dozen medical centers in the region.

 

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.