Ebola – Will it Destroy Africa?


Every week we hear updates on the number of infected and dead caused by Ebola but individual numbers aren’t the whole story. The WHO projects millions of cases by next year!

We first heard about this latest of 21 outbreaks in late March and since then the cases have increased dramatically, reaching an estimated 10,000 infected people by today, although “official” reports are about 6,000 – many people are very likely not being reported in rural areas.

For every case of Ebola, it is expected that there will be between 1 and 2 new cases infected by that patient.

Earlier outbreaks beginning in 1976 quickly died out because they occurred in rural villages.

This outbreak is taking place in crowded city slums in countries only recently beginning to recover from civil wars and which had little public health service even before recent wars.

Since there is no current immunization available for Ebola and none likely to be available for months at a minimum, Ebola cases will expand at what is known as an exponential rate.

Briefly that means that each successive week until the epidemic is brought under control, the number of new cases will be approximately equal to the total of all previous week’s new cases.

That means the number of new infections will grow not just by doubling each week but much faster.

In fact, the WHO estimate of new cases is between 5,000 and 10,000 in just the first week of December.

By the second week in December that would rise to between 10,000 and 20,000 NEW cases in one week.

The CDC has developed a model for the spread of Ebola if the world does not take vigorous action to intervene.

The CDC projection shows that it is possible there could be 1,400,000 cases in West Africa by next February.

That includes a number of suppositions, including that the outbreak will remain confined to West Africa, not a sure thing.

It also assumes that the world will provide all the supplies and support already promised.

As millions of people in Africa die of Ebola, it will continue to spread exponentially even if it remains mostly confined to that continent.

There is little likelihood that Ebola will gain a foothold in any developed country but having vast numbers of infected people even in Africa poses an existential threat to the entire world.

Despite the billions of dollars already promised in foreign aid and new care centers being put up every day, the health care workers are falling further behind every day.

For more information see the other Ebola stories here on newsblaze, or get my book http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00O97QN2O.

John McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. He is a 38-year member of the National Press Club, retired emergency management coordinator, physicist, and member of the AAAS. He is a senior NewsBlaze writer who writes incisive, investigative stories.