According to a study published on Tuesday at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that up to 1.4 million people will be infected with Ebola by January 20th, 2015. The large number is an estimate for West Africa, and not other areas it might spread to. With multiple World Wide crises happening, could Ebola prevention take a back seat to priorities such as ISIS and Russia?
Despite other worldly issues, the threat of Ebola and its potential for spreading beyond West Africa is can be contained and controlled. This is assuming that focus remains on the issue and steps are taken to ensure it is not pushed aside. The CDC reported on the possibility of taking control of the outbreak.
“Extensive, immediate actions – such as those already started – can bring the epidemic to a tipping point to start a rapid decline in cases,”
CDC director Thomas Frieden went on to share how Ebola can be stopped.
“A surge now can break the back of the epidemic. If you get enough people effectively isolated, the epidemic can be stopped. I am confident the most dire projections will not come to pass.”
The model that the CDC used to project the increase in numbers can be found in a spreadsheet located here. The numbers are a worst case scenario, assuming the Ebola virus is not slowed down. It is important to note that a previous report showed 20,000 possible infections in the middle of 2015, which is a much lower number in comparison to the 1.4 million that is currently projected.
Christopher Dye, the WHO’s director of strategy, shared his thoughts on the projections and their accuracy.
“This is a bit like weather forecasting. We can do it a few days in advance, but looking a few weeks or months ahead is very difficult.”
Despite the teeter totter of statistics that surround the control and spread of the Ebola virus, there are some that feel the projections don’t matter as much as what is being done now to control the spread. Dr. Armand Sprecher, an infectious disease specialist with Doctors Without Borders, says the end of further infection can end but not as soon as everyone would like.
“Ebola outbreaks usually end when people stop touching the sick. The outbreak is not going to end tomorrow but there are things we can do to reduce the case count.”
Still, others, such as Adam Kucharski, a research fellow in infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, feel that time is not a luxury and Ebola needs to be controlled now.
“The window for controlling this outbreak is closing.”
Where do you feel the battle against Ebola stands in comparison to the war on ISIS and Russian threats? Do you feel that the war against Ebola can be victorious, or is it too far along?
[Photo Courtesy: Zenfs]