The Ebola outbreak could infect between 550,000 and 1.4 million people by January if it is not contained, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week. So far, the World Health Organization has confirmed 5,800 this week, but experts say the reported numbers are inaccurate.
“If conditions continue without scale-up of interventions, cases will continue to double approximately every 20 days, and the number of cases in West Africa will rapidly reach extraordinary levels. However, the findings also indicate that the epidemic can be controlled," said the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released on Tuesday.
CDC Director Tom Frieden said that 1.4 million is a “scenario” only. In response to the outbreak, President Barack Obama has announced that medical personnel and nearly 3,000 troops will head to West Africa to help. Frieden said the help can “break the back of the epidemic.”
Cases in Liberia have doubled every 15 to 20 days and cases in Sierra Leone and Guinea have doubled every 30 to 40 days.
"Human resources are clearly our most important need. We need most especially compassionate doctors and nurses who will know how to comfort patients despite the barriers of wearing personal protective equipment and working under very demanding conditions," said Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general at the World Health Organization.
Publication date: September 24, 2014