Sci­ence of spread

Down to Earth - - HEALTH -

TO UN­DER STAND Ebola's po­ten­tial to spread, the US gov­ern­ment agency Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion con­structed a mod­el­ling tool called Ebola-Re­sponse. Its pro­jec­tions say that the spread of Ebola will be­gin to de­crease and even­tu­ally end if ap­prox­i­mately 70 per cent of pa­tients are in med­i­cal care fa­cil­i­ties. Ev­ery 30-day de­lay in in­creas­ing the per­cent­age of pa­tients in treat­ment units to 70 per cent will cause an ap­prox­i­mate tripling of the num­ber of daily cases that oc­cur at the peak of the epi­demic. Another study based on a math­e­mat­i­cal trans­mis­sion model shows that if the epi­demic con­tin­ues in its present course in Montser­rado, Liberia's most pop­u­lous county, there could be 170,996 cases and 90,122 deaths in the county by De­cem­ber 15. Some 97,940 cases of the dis­ease can be averted if con­trol mea­sures are started by Oc­to­ber 31. The study, pub­lished in The Lancet In­fec­tious Dis­eases on Oc­to­ber 23, says if the in­ter­ven­tions are de­layed till Novem­ber 15, just over half of th­ese cases would be averted.

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