Ebola Could Reach the US By the End of This Month

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(Newswire.net — September 5, 2014)  — The outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) that started in December 2013 has defied several months of mitigation and containment efforts. In July 2014 it was still evolving in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“As of August 20th, the number of confirmed cases in those countries had reached 844. On July 20th, the outbreak reached Nigeria through an infected traveler coming from Liberia. The Nigerian official reports list 12 probable cases, and it is not clear if the outbreak has been contained.” study says.

The researchers behind a study say that they were using the Global Epidemic and Mobility Model to generate random, individual based simulations of epidemic spread worldwide. This yielded, among other measures, the incidence and seeding events at a daily resolution for 3,362 subpopulations in 220 countries.

The mobility model integrates daily airline passenger traffic worldwide and the disease model includes the community, hospital, and burial transmission dynamic.

The estimates obtained were used to generate a 3-month ensemble forecast that provides quantitative estimates of the local transmission of Ebola virus disease in West Africa and the probability of international spread if the containment measures are not successful at curtailing the outbreak.

Results indicate that the short-term (3 and 6 weeks) probability of international spread outside the African region is small, but not negligible. The extension of the outbreak is more likely occurring in African countries, increasing the risk of international dissemination on a longer time scale.

Adding to this, the third US aid worker catching Ebola virus, beside Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol who have been treated for Ebola in the US, is a Boston-area doctor who decided to return to Liberia after the two others fell ill with the deadly virus.

“Dr. Rick Sacra who went back to Liberia about a month ago, was not caring for Ebola patients, but delivering babies at the missionary group’s hospital in Liberia,” said SIM President Bruce Johnson at a news conference.

“When a fellow SIM worker and another missionary doctor became sick, Sacra called and said, I’m ready to go,” said the president of his missionary group on Wednesday.

Sacra is technically the fourth American to test positive for Ebola in the current outbreak, which so far has killed more than 1,500 people (nearly all Africans). Patrick Sawyer, an American-Liberian, died from Ebola in July after catching the disease in Liberia.

That’s more than the total number of people killed by all other Ebola outbreaks combined since the first outbreak in 1976.