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Ebola: Risk of 6,800 New Cases This Month
- Updated: September 21, 2014
According to researchers with Arizona State University (ASU), there is the possibility of 6,800 new Ebola cases this month alone. To make this determination, modeling analyses was used. In Guinea and Liberia, the number of new cases rose dramatically in the month of August, during the same time a mass quarantine was mandated. The quarantine is an indicator that the Ebola virus outbreak could become much worse.
Unfortunately, riots were sparked last month within the quarantined areas because of worsening hygiene and living conditions. In Sierra Leone, a three-day quarantine for the entire country went into effect today, requiring all citizens to stay at home.
According to Sherry Towers, research professor for the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational, and Modeling Sciences Center (MCMSC), worsening of Ebola could be blamed on other things to include the virus becoming more transmissible. However, she adds that perhaps quarantine control efforts might be to blame for the virus spreading so quickly based on overcrowding in unsanitary conditions.
The study was authored by Towers, along with Carlos Castillo-Chavez, executive director of MCMSC and professor of ASU Regent’s and Oscar Patterson-Lomba with Harvard School of Public Health.
The goal of the researchers involved with the study was to assess whether or not control efforts are effective in stopping the West African Ebola outbreak to spread over a large geographic area, something that has caused literally thousands of infections but also deaths.
Due to the outbreak spreading over densely populated areas, risk of it spreading to international areas has increased. Making an existing problem worse is the fact that there is a lack of proper resources to make the quarantine and isolation effective. Currently, there is no specific treatment or licensed vaccine available, which means the possible interventions include improving quarantine, isolation, personal distancing, and hygiene.
In a statement released by the White House, it is critical to put improved control measures in place. To help control the spreading Ebola outbreak, some 3,000 United States troops and medical personnel are being sent to the affected regions to offer aid.
The outbreak data studied by ASU researchers included Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and according to their calculations, at minimum, there could be 4,000 new cases of the Ebola virus but that could increase up to 6,800.