550 000 to 1.4m could be infected by Ebola by Jan 2015

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

In a new report, released on Tuesday, by the US’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, around 550 000 to 1.4 million people in Western Africa could be carrying the deadly Ebola virus by January 20th 2015.

The estimate of 1.4 million people assumes that the current World Health Organisation (WHO) count of 5 864 is significantly underreported – the CDC believes the actual number of cases is actually 2.5 times more than that, or 20 000 cases, have occurred.

It said its projections, which are based on an epidemiological model that takes into account how many people each Ebola patient eventually infects as well as other factors, is based on data collected in August.

They do not therefore take into account the recently announced US government Ebola relief efforts.

“Extensive, immediate actions – such as those already started – can bring the epidemic to a tipping point to start a rapid decline in cases,” the CDC said in a statement.

Meanwhile, in an article published in the new England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday, expects form the WHO and the Imperial College said that Ebola infections could reach 20 000 as soon as November and may ‘rumble on’ for years unless rigorous control measures are implemented.

About 10 000 of those cases would be in Liberia; 6 000 in Guinea and the remainder in Sierra Leone.