Ebola deaths could reach 20,000

Posted Sep 27, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Some startling Ebola figures have been release: the WHO predicts more than 20,000 people could be infected by November, while the U.S. CDC estimates the epidemic will strike some 500,000 people by the end of January 2015.
Two members of the Guinean Red Cross  in protective gear  arrive on March 31  2014 to evacuate the b...
Two members of the Guinean Red Cross, in protective gear, arrive on March 31, 2014 to evacuate the bodies of two people who died from the Ebola in Conakry, Guinea
Cellou Binani, AFP/File
More than 20,000 people are likely to have been infected with Ebola by November 2, the World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola Response Team have predicted. Their troublesome statistic has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine ("Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa — The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections").
By extrapolating data from the beginning of the outbreak and accounting for the increased pace of infections, WHO scientists have noted that “transmission has to be a little more than halved to achieve control of the epidemic and eventually to eliminate the virus from the human population.”
In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have also released figures of concern. The scientists based at the U.S. health agency predict that, at the current rate of transmission and without any further aid,“the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa could infect up to 500,000 people by the end of January.” (as reported in The Washington Post).
Interviewed by the newspaper, microbiologist John Connor of Boston University School of Medicine warned: "One of the scary things about this outbreak is that all the general models of the past have been broken."
The CDC is of the view that if the worst happens, its prediction of 500,000 may rise even higher. In a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report paper, the CDC presents a worst-case scenario prediction that — assuming transmission “trends continue without additional interventions,”and correcting for under-reporting — as many as 1.4 million people could be infected with Ebola by January 20, 2015.
The key action to avoid this appears to be the isolation of infected patients. Treatment with drugs is expensive, and even where drugs can be administered, they are in short supply.