he World health Organisation (WHO) announced that the total number of Ebola cases is set to exceed 10,000, as the death toll cross 4,700. The on-going outbreak is already the worst Ebola outbreak in the history of the disease since it was discovered in 1976. But there’s worse than the worst yet to come. According to a new study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, Ebola outbreak will explode in the month of December, where the death toll is predicted to reach 90,000 in Montserrado Africa.
According to Alison Galvani, senior author and Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, USA, the crucial window of opportunity for timely control of the Ebola outbreak has passed and now the risk of catastrophic devastation due to the disease in West Africa and beyond will begin.
The predictions of the researchers are based on a mathematical model that they used to evaluate the ability of control interventions (ie, new treatment centres to isolate and treat Ebola patients, case finding through contact tracing, and protective kits to help household-based isolation of infected individuals) to control the Ebola outbreak in Montserrado during various time periods.
Galvani said that their predictions highlight the rapidly closing window of opportunity for controlling the outbreak, and averting a catastrophic toll of new Ebola cases and deaths in the coming months. They estimated that the reproductive number (R0, the average number of infections caused by a single infected individual) in Montserrado is 2.49 and predicted that the addition of 4800 treatment beds, alongside increasing case detection fivefold in November, could prevent 77312 cases by 15 December, 2014. Additionally, a complementary strategy of allocating protective kits could bring the number of deaths averted up to 97940 cases in total.
While vaccines to prevent Ebola remain unavailable, our study urges a rapid and immediate scaling-up of all currently available non-pharmaceutical intervention strategies to minimize the occurrence of new cases and deaths.
Early symptoms of Ebola
Fever: Increase in body temperature is the first defence mechanism that the body uses to kill any foreign particle invading the body. When Ebola infects the body, it causes a release of various compounds like cytokines and histamines that pass on the signals of increasing body temperature. In fact, Ebola virus disease is also called the Ebola haemorrhagic fever, where the temperature can go above 38.6°C or 101.5°F.
Headache: It is the most common symptom of Ebola infection after fever, present in almost 96 percent of the cases. Nausea and headache along with fever present a typical case of common cold and flu. At this stage, the symptoms can be confused with other common infections.
Stomach pain: A few viral particles invade the liver and starts destroying the hepatocytes. New virions start damaging the intestinal cells causing abdominal pain.