U.S. Preps For Ebola Outbreak: Cases May Exceed 100,000 By December: “The Numbers Are Really Scary”

Though news on the Ebola virus has been muted since two American health care workers were admitted to U.S.-based facilities last month, the deadly contagion continues to spread. According to the World Health Organization more than ,40% of all Ebola cases thus far have occurred in just the last three months, suggesting that the virus is continuing to build steam.

Physicist Alessandro Vespignani of Northeastern University in Boston is one of several researchers trying to figure out how far Ebola may spread and how many people around the world could be affected. Based on his findings, there will be 10,000 cases by September of this year and it only gets worse from there.

(A model created by Alessandro Vespignani and his colleagues suggests that, at its current spread, Ebola may infect up to 10,000 people by September 24. Other models suggest up to 100,000 infected globally by December of this year. The shaded area is the variability range.)
(A model created by Alessandro Vespignani and his colleagues suggests that, at its current spread, Ebola may infect up to 10,000 people by September 24. Other models suggest up to 100,000 infected globally by December of this year. The shaded area is the variability range.)

Extrapolating existing trends, the number of the sick and dying mounts rapidly from the current toll—more than 3000 cases and 1500 deaths—to around 10,000 cases by September 24, and hundreds of thousands in the months after that.The numbers are really scary,” he says—although he stresses that the model assumes control efforts aren’t stepped up. We all hope to see this NOT happening,” Vespigani writes in an e-mail.

Vespignani is not the only one trying to predict how the unprecedented outbreak will progress. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the number of cases could ultimately exceed 20,000. And scientists across the world are scrambling to create computer models that accurately describe the spread of the deadly virus. Not all of them look quite as bleak as Vespignani’s. But the modelers all agree that current efforts to control the epidemic are not enough to stop the deadly pathogen in its tracks.

If the epidemic in Liberia were to continue in this way until the 1st of December, the cumulative number of cases would exceed 100,000,” predicts Althaus. Such long-term forecasts are error-prone, he acknowledges.

Vespignani has analyzed the likelihood that Ebola will spread to other countries. Using data on millions of air travelers and commuters, as well as mobility patterns based on data from censuses and mobile devices, he has built a model of the world, into which he can introduce Ebola and then run hundreds of thousands of simulations. In general, the chance of further spread beyond West Africa is small, Vespignani says, but the risk grows with the scale of the epidemic.

Ghana, the United Kingdom, and the United States are among the countries most likely to have an introduced case, according to the model.

Source: Science Mag and WHO via Investment Watch

Though researchers and officials hope that this is “not happening,” the fact is that Ebola spread has only increased since it was first identified earlier this year. And now it is spreading to densely populated African cities like Lagos, Nigeria.

The Centers for Disease Control and US-based hospitals maintain that the likelihood of Ebola spreading to the United States remains “extremely low,” but that hasn’t stopped them from preparing infection control protocols because of the extremely high fatality rates associated with those who contract the virus.

Hospitals throughout Southern California are preparing for potential Ebola cases, even as they seek to reassure patients and health care workers that the risk is very low.

Public health officials say with the right isolation and infection control procedures, all hospitals could safely handle a patient with Ebola without exposing staff or other patients.

“We have the infrastructure anyway because we see these things on a daily basis. We see tuberculosis, influenza, potentially measles, and whooping cough,” said Dr. Zachary Rubin, medical director of clinical epidemiology and infection prevention at UCLA. “Even though Ebola is in the news, this is something we do day in and day out.”

The CDC’s Ebola recommendations for hospitals include an array of measures such as private rooms for patients, protective coverings for staff, and limiting use of needles as much as possible to prevent transmission.

“In the context of overall diseases, the likelihood of Ebola even coming to the U.S. or to UCI Medical Center is so extremely low, we just don’t expect it to happen,” Gohil said.

“However, the fatalities are so high and the possibility of travel in the global context is just enough that we have to prepare. One of the reasons you want to prepare is to reassure your staff and your patients that it’s perfectly handleable.”

Public health officials say with the right isolation and infection control procedures, all hospitals could safely handle a patient with Ebola without exposing staff or other patients.

Source: Los Angeles Register

Experts say the virus doesn’t spread like the flu or measles because it is not airborne. However, there are some indications that current strain of the Ebola virus may be mutating. Last month a warning issued by the CDC claimed that infectious Ebola materials could be spread through the air.

Written by: MAC SLAVO of SHTF PLAN where you can read his complete article.

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