Ebola Cannot Be Halted or Slowed Any Time Soon, Says New Study

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Ebola Cannot Be Halted or Slowed Any Time Soon, Says New Study

Ebola Red

According to a new study, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has progressed to a point where intervention techniques will not be able to significantly slow the virus' spread before the end of the year.

Using data on the current and past Ebola outbreaks, researchers have developed a model to forecast the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa and determine the effectiveness of different intervention techniques, including the development of a vaccine. Not wanting to project too far into the future in order to maintain as much accuracy as possible with such predictions, the researchers' model forecasts until the end of this year and reveals an outbreak that is nowhere close to peaking in its spread.

The research team tested five different intervention strategies on the model, and while these did help the situation, none were able to halt the progress of the epidemic. Even a vaccine would only lower mortality rates without significantly affecting the virus' spread.

The team concluded that while short-term intervention is helpful, the devotion of resources to the efforts in the long-term are now necessary to address the outbreak.

As of October 14, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OCHA and local governments have reported a total of 9,216 suspected cases and 4,555 deaths attributed to Ebola. The research team's end-of-year forecast predicts well over 200,000 infections, with the worst yet to come. The paper highlights the conclusion that at this point, improved infection control will not be enough to stop the epidemic from continuing its upward trend toward its eventual peak.

That said, the researchers do believe that coordinated intervention is imperative, even in the short term. This is not an "all is lost" scenario, but rather, "batten down the hatches; we need to weather this storm." We're still in the early stages of the outbreak, with no end in sight.

"The epidemic is currently beyond the point where it can be easily controlled," the team writes. "Despite the considerable impact the proposed interventions have on the burden of disease, none of them are forecast, at least in the short term, to halt the epidemic entirely."

For a timeline on the spread of the outbreak since patient 0 and up to this summer, as well as information on what you can do to stay safe, read this article on the Ebola virus outbreak of 2014.

Source: PLOS Current Outbreaks

Permalink

Sounds like its time to start panicking. Everyone form an orderly line and we can begin our organized descent into chaos.

Maybe they should try, I dunno, not letting possibly-infected people flee the country?

Loop Stricken:
Maybe they should try, I dunno, not letting possibly-infected people flee the country?

There are 3 countries with high infection rates and the governments of all three are denying all the time that the medical/police/military of there countries are breaking down.

Not to mention that 2 of them have admitted that those who die from ebola but were not in a hospital when they died are not counted in the figures they give the WHO.

So the only way to stop those infected from just walking to one of the 3 neighbouring countries with the large land borders they share would be to invade and then risk large numbers of western military being infected.

By the end of January the WHO predicts 1 in 10 of the population of Liberia and Sierra Leone will be infected.

P-89 Scorpion:
snip

So, you're telling me they should try harder.

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!

*Everyone screams in horror*

Alright, I think that's my bit down for the evening. Wake me up when the Daily Mail gives us another item that may cause cancer. I am hoping for pens this time.

First: I see Escapist has jumped on the "OMG PANIC" bandwagon here. That's always nice to see.

Second: I'm in partial agreement about a few things here. In Africa Ebola has a pretty high morbidity rate at this point. The more infected, the harder it becomes to contain.

Third: How in the world does 9200 suspected Ebola cases turn into 200,000 infected. I'm calling bullshit, someone made a big typo somewhere.

Fourth: Maybe someone can explain to me why the WHO denied the "right" of experimental treatments to the people of Africa. Last I checked, if I'm 99% sure I am gonna die because I have Ebola, who the hell are they to tell me I'm not allowed to try anything I want to cure myself (within reason of course).

holy shit this is awful

Well we can all rest easier knowing there is an Ebola Czar now.. After all, the main issue in the US is that there wasn't enough bureaucracy, so hiring another life long bureaucrat ought to help.

Baresark:
First: I see Escapist has jumped on the "OMG PANIC" bandwagon here. That's always nice to see.

Second: I'm in partial agreement about a few things here. In Africa Ebola has a pretty high morbidity rate at this point. The more infected, the harder it becomes to contain.

Third: How in the world does 9200 suspected Ebola cases turn into 200,000 infected. I'm calling bullshit, someone made a big typo somewhere.

Fourth: Maybe someone can explain to me why the WHO denied the "right" of experimental treatments to the people of Africa. Last I checked, if I'm 99% sure I am gonna die because I have Ebola, who the hell are they to tell me I'm not allowed to try anything I want to cure myself (within reason of course).

First infected December 2013
31st March 2014 - 130 infected
30th April 2014 - 233 79% increase
29th May 2014 - 354 52%
30th June 2014 - 759 114%
31st July 2014 - 1,440 90%
31st August 2014 - 3,707 157%
28th September 2014 - 7,192 94%
14th October 2014 - 9,216 28%

If the infection rate continues at a 90% increase every month 180,000 will be infected by the end of February 2015

Unfortunately the above WHO figures are believed to be vastly underestimated as the governments are only giving the numbers of those admitted to hospital, if someone gets ebola and dies before being admitted to a hospital then they are not counted. The WHO believes the real infected rate is 2.5 times higher if that is correct 200,000 by the end of December is possible.

Edit yeah I suck at maths.

More people die of influenza every year, by orders of magnitude, than have ever died of ebola in all of recorded history.

Get your flu shots.

Wash your hands.

Don't panic.

Don Incognito:
More people die of influenza every year, by orders of magnitude, than have ever died of ebola in all of recorded history.

Get your flu shots.

Wash your hands.

Don't panic.

In the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic it had a fatality rate of 2%

The 2009 influenza pandemic had a fatality rate of 0.03%

Ebola has a fatality rate of between 25% - 90% with the average between 60-70%

And with the Ebola infection rate still increasing at 50% every month since it started Africa is in deep shit as is anyone else who gets it. God forbid it gets into India or China.

That is all perfectly true.

However, it is not particularly likely to spread in any nation with a functional public health system.

I'm really wondering how much the 'breaking people out of quarentine, telling them the disease was a lie, so run' event had to do with it getting as out of hand as it is.

The problem with Africa is health services and logistics. Liberia has 50 doctors in the entire country. 1 doctor to 70,000 people. Add to that lack of education (people have attacked health workers and hospitals because they think Ebola is a man made virus out to kill them) Along with burial customs (people washing the infected body to prepare it for burial) and people attending native/tribal/medicine man type doctors with bullshit remedies and you can see how the virus spiraled out of control.

Ebola takes from 2 days to 2 weeks to show infection but because its not airborne the majority of people will be okay. Unless you are sleeping with someone who has it, or someone who has it sneezed in your face you'll be fine. Its passed on through touch and liquid. You could have been sharing a daily bus with an ebola victim for the last month and you will be fine.

This bastard virus is going to devastate africa, but its not going to kill the world.

Well, it is about time for a plague. Let's just hope we're more prepared for this one than the last few. Or, I guess maybe Africa is due for a population check; frankly, we all need to stop having babies, but that's especially true for people who have no chance of a decent life and probably have AIDS, right?

P-89 Scorpion:

Baresark:
First: I see Escapist has jumped on the "OMG PANIC" bandwagon here. That's always nice to see.

Second: I'm in partial agreement about a few things here. In Africa Ebola has a pretty high morbidity rate at this point. The more infected, the harder it becomes to contain.

Third: How in the world does 9200 suspected Ebola cases turn into 200,000 infected. I'm calling bullshit, someone made a big typo somewhere.

Fourth: Maybe someone can explain to me why the WHO denied the "right" of experimental treatments to the people of Africa. Last I checked, if I'm 99% sure I am gonna die because I have Ebola, who the hell are they to tell me I'm not allowed to try anything I want to cure myself (within reason of course).

First infected December 2013
31st March 2014 - 130 infected
30th April 2014 - 233 79% increase
29th May 2014 - 354 34%
30th June 2014 - 759 53%
31st July 2014 - 1,440 47%
31st August 2014 - 3,707 61%
28th September 2014 - 7,192 48%
14th October 2014 - 9,216 22%

If the infection rate continues at a 50% increase every month 230,000 will be infected by the end of February 2015

Unfortunately the above WHO figures are believed to be vastly underestimated as the governments are only giving the numbers of those admitted to hospital, if someone gets ebola and dies before being admitted to a hospital then they are not counted. The WHO believes the real infected rate is 2.5 times higher if that is correct 200,000 by the end of December is possible.

Now, I don't claim to be an expert at the maths, but if it increases by 50% every month, it won't be anywhere near 200k people infected by December, it will be an order of magnitude less, literally.

So, feel free to tell me what I did wrong there. I simply added 50% to the numbers for several months (cumulative of course), unless we are literally assuming the number is 2.5 times less than what is based on actual known numbers. In that case, by December we are looking at 60.5k cases, not 200k cases. Once again, feel free to correct me on how I'm looking at this wrong.

chiefohara:

...]
Ebola takes from 2 days to 2 weeks to show infection but because its not airborne the majority of people will be okay. Unless you are sleeping with someone who has it, or someone who has it sneezed in your face you'll be fine. Its passed on through touch and liquid. You could have been sharing a daily bus with an ebola victim for the last month and you will be fine.

This bastard virus is going to devastate africa, but its not going to kill the world.

Should I dig up all the studies that show how filthy people are? Fecal matter on door knobs, on cash. Heck off the top of my head I recall a gas station got some in the ice machine. One person could spread it rather far. And honestly, yes its unlikely you will catch it. But if you do, it ranks high up there on the worst ways to die.

Captcha: Last straw

It's still only transmitted via bodily fluids after symptoms have started, though, right?

So while this is terrifying for the African countries where ebola has a foothold, it's not going to effectively spread in countries where we quarantine sick people.

Still, utterly tragic. :(

mavkiel:

chiefohara:

...]
Ebola takes from 2 days to 2 weeks to show infection but because its not airborne the majority of people will be okay. Unless you are sleeping with someone who has it, or someone who has it sneezed in your face you'll be fine. Its passed on through touch and liquid. You could have been sharing a daily bus with an ebola victim for the last month and you will be fine.

This bastard virus is going to devastate africa, but its not going to kill the world.

Should I dig up all the studies that show how filthy people are? Fecal matter on door knobs, on cash. Heck off the top of my head I recall a gas station got some in the ice machine. One person could spread it rather far. And honestly, yes its unlikely you will catch it. But if you do, it ranks high up there on the worst ways to die.

Captcha: Last straw

The risk of infection is essentially nil until the symptoms occur - at which point, the patient isn't going to be moving very far at all.

Better news: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/10/16/ebola-infections-with-no-symptoms-are-possible-and-they-could-help-end-the-west-africa-epidemic/

Apparently, in data taken from previous ebola outbreaks, 20-60% of people are asymptomatic - they get infected, their body is all like "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no" and they are then immune to the disease from there on out, and they're never contagious. That's really reassuring.

Don Incognito:
That is all perfectly true.

However, it is not particularly likely to spread in any nation with a functional public health system.

chiefohara:
Ebola takes from 2 days to 2 weeks to show infection but because its not airborne the majority of people will be okay. Unless you are sleeping with someone who has it, or someone who has it sneezed in your face you'll be fine. Its passed on through touch and liquid. You could have been sharing a daily bus with an ebola victim for the last month and you will be fine.

This bastard virus is going to devastate africa, but its not going to kill the world.

Folks, there are confirmed cases in the US. At least two, last I heard, were nurses who treated an infected patient. So assuming these nurses followed procedures and had no skin on skin contact with a patient infected with an unknown illness how did they get infected? There is the very real possibility this strain could be airborne, or at the very least survive in aerosolized body fluids long enough to mimic airborne transmissions. The CDC has confirmed that several infected people had flown not only from Africa but within the US as well. And the CDC is refusing to institute a pandemic level quarantine on those arriving from hotspots as well as Obama sending 5,000 troops to "help". These aren't doctors or nurses or bio-chemical warfare specialists. These are 5,000 men and women we are going to unnecessarily expose to this pathogen and then bring home. It is going to spread, and we will only have our governments to blame.

Another way to put this is, "Wonderful news! We have ways to slow the spread of ebola and reduce its mortality. Unfortunately we can't stop it entirely within the next 2 months, but we can make it less bad."

Rhykker:
The research team tested five different intervention strategies on the model, and while these did help the situation, none were able to halt the progress of the epidemic. Even a vaccine would only lower mortality rates without significantly affecting the virus' spread.

The team concluded that while short-term intervention is helpful, the devotion of resources to the efforts in the long-term are now necessary to address the outbreak.

Seems pretty great to me. This isn't to downplay the terror people suffering from or with loved ones suffering from the disease must feel or the anxiety experienced by people who don't understand how the virus is transmitted. But I can't recall ever once in human history our species noticing an epidemic and then fixing it in 6 months. Diseases are hard, and there will always be a new disease out there to challenge us. But by applying science instead of going into hysterics, solutions can be found.

Keep at it, doctors, nurses, and researchers. You're the real heroes.

Well hell. I was gonna spend the next few days making excessive physical contact with various bodily fluids of strangers but now I guess I'll just have to stay home.

Sarge034:

Don Incognito:
That is all perfectly true.

However, it is not particularly likely to spread in any nation with a functional public health system.

chiefohara:
Ebola takes from 2 days to 2 weeks to show infection but because its not airborne the majority of people will be okay. Unless you are sleeping with someone who has it, or someone who has it sneezed in your face you'll be fine. Its passed on through touch and liquid. You could have been sharing a daily bus with an ebola victim for the last month and you will be fine.

This bastard virus is going to devastate africa, but its not going to kill the world.

Folks, there are confirmed cases in the US. At least two, last I heard, were nurses who treated an infected patient. So assuming these nurses followed procedures and had no skin on skin contact with a patient infected with an unknown illness how did they get infected? There is the very real possibility this strain could be airborne, or at the very least survive in aerosolized body fluids long enough to mimic airborne transmissions. The CDC has confirmed that several infected people had flown not only from Africa but within the US as well. And the CDC is refusing to institute a pandemic level quarantine on those arriving from hotspots as well as Obama sending 5,000 troops to "help". These aren't doctors or nurses or bio-chemical warfare specialists. These are 5,000 men and women we are going to unnecessarily expose to this pathogen and then bring home. It is going to spread, and we will only have our governments to blame.

You, uh... you realize they admitted that the nurses became infected due to a breach in protocol, right? That was the problem. They didn't follow procedure.

That being said, the sending troops thing is really stupid to me, too, since I fail to see how they'll lend any aid other than protection from those who think ebola is black magic being spread by doctors. However, preeetty sure they'd at least watch those soldiers for signs of infection when they return.

Rhykker:
<
including the development of a vaccine

A vaccine is not mentioned anywhere in the journal piece.
I think you mean novel pharmaceuticals which were mentiond. They are not vaccines, they reduce symptoms increasing the chances of survival. They do almost nothing to kurb infection with the exception of less exposure to helthcare and funeral workers.

See this here Ebola? This is what happens when we let stupid people exist. What we should be doing is getting rid of them...by educating and informing the countries more susceptible that this shit happens because you don't know what you are doing and show them how to do it correctly. But on the other hand, there are situations like donkey abuse in countries where they can't even put two and two together and realise they keep dying and suffering because you overwork and treat them like shit so... perhaps the mildly ignorant can be helped, the fucking retarded can be just kept in a bowl or something.

lacktheknack:
It's still only transmitted via bodily fluids after symptoms have started, though, right?

So while this is terrifying for the African countries where ebola has a foothold, it's not going to effectively spread in countries where we quarantine sick people.

Still, utterly tragic. :(

This.

To address things other people have said, the point of this story isn't alarmism. The world is probably safe. You, dear reader, are probably safe. The article links, at the end, to another article explaining why you're probably safe, and that there's no need for alarm. HOWEVER, just because it isn't happening to us in the first world does not mean it is not newsworthy. It is tragic that something that could have easily been contained will potentially results in hundreds of thousands of infections because West Africa does not have the resources, infrastructure, or political stability to handle this on its own.

To those questioning the maths... Sigh. They didn't just say, "hey, it doubles every month, so by that logic..." It's really not that simple. I encourage questioning their math - but you have to question it with something a little more robust than that. Check out the source article for more insight into their process, but they checked their model against historical Ebola outbreaks, and it was solid.

Considering that this is from a study where they compile a bunch of research from outside sources and make a educated guess ... I still wouldn't panic. Panic drives people mad and causes more harm. Of which, the media has done a great job of doing. I do believe that the numbers of which they're giving us could be false and are far worse, but it is kinda hard to hide anything like this these days.

Also, if the any strain was airborne the numbers of infected would be gigantic. It's just the fact that our nurses are not prepared for this sort of virus. Flu season is coming and if anyone is sick should stay the fuck home. I don't know how many times I've seen idiots go out shopping while sick and coughing everywhere. Those are the people that will spread it.

I guess setting an entire country on fire wouldn't help...

Paradox SuXcess:
Alright, I think that's my bit down for the evening. Wake me up when the Daily Mail gives us another item that may cause cancer. I am hoping for pens this time.

Oh God.

OH GOD.

CANCER CAUSES CANCER! AAAARRRRGGGH! DAMN YOU, DAILY MAIL!

Heh. I'm Canadian and even I know how shit that tabloid happens to be. :D All jokes aside, though, I do hope we at least manage to keep the infected circumscribed. 'Till then, I think the safest thing to do might be to wash your hands if you're involved in the health sector or work with someone who has connections there.

Wash those hands, take those vitamins and crank up that immune system as much as possible, people. That means going out there and getting some fresh air, nevermind how we're being bombarded with early Flu Season ads and late-season Hay Fever nonsense.

Oh, and go to bed at decent hours. Your body needs the sunlight to ward off depression, too. That's the hardest part for me to keep up with. :(

That's it, people. Time to move to Madagascar. The last safe place on earth. Assuming they haven't shutdown the port already, that is.

"Road less traveled" indeed, captcha.

How do you create panic in a crowded US movie theater? Yell "EBOLA!!!".

Seriously though I am quite tired of all the scare mongering in the media, first ISIS and now Ebola. What's next ISIS Ebola terrorist attacks?

About the 2 nurses, did they not get training on how to not catch whatever the patient has? It is a great time for refresher courses and making sure everyone follows procedure. Then instead of scare tactics in the media they could explain those procedures and why they prevent the spread of the virus.

My god can we please stop making threads about the same damn thing over and over again? Everyone is just repeating their opinions every single time. There is no discussion going on.

Also, stop getting riled up by sensationalist media. The ebola outbread in africa is bad because the people thing ebola is a government conspiracy and break their friends and relatives out of containment areas. It will NOT do the same thing in any country with a decent healthcare system. Some people will contract it, some people will die from it. This is not the apocalypse. You're all watching too many zombie shows and movies.

The scary thing for me is that the lab I work at is prepared now to test for Ebola. Meaning we're the only lab in Australia (as far as I'm aware) that can test for the virus. This means that every suspected case that pops up here will be sent to us. I heard a nurse returned to Australia and was infectious while on board a flight with 132 passengers and that our government is desperately scrambling to find and quarantine those people as soon as possible.

Hell, Australia only has 5 virus isolation pods and there's a suspected 132 possible Ebola cases wandering around our country. We are not adequately prepared for an outbreak.

And I'm aware that the period of infectiousness is small and that it is only transmitted via bodily fluids so I'm not freaking out here or intending to freak anyone out. Just saying to take care and be prepared, outbreaks can happen, even in first world countries.

I'm honestly surprised by their conclusion. I was pretty sure it would burn itself out, like it always has. But this strain appears to be less deadly than others and thus has a higher potential for infection, I suppose. We'll see. Assuming the CDC and equivalents stop messing up for a few minutes, I still fully expect this epidemic to remain limited to West Africa (apart from the few infections that occurred due to lacking safety precautions inside Western hospitals, of course; no epidemic in Western countries, is what I mean). No need to panic for us Westerners just yet, so don't listen to the Fox Newses of the world. But I can certainly believe that it'll keep getting worse for the people on location. Nigeria seems to be doing okay, though, cutting the spread off at the root. Let's hope that at least the other countries at risk can do the same so this doesn't grow bigger.

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