ASU professor: Ebola spreading rapidly through West Africa

Saturday, September 13, 2014
By Paul Martin

Ryan Van Velzer
September 12, 2014

An Arizona State University researcher has revealed just how fast Ebola is spreading through West Africa.

Each person infected with Ebola spread the virus to at least one to two other people on average, according to “Early transmission dynamics of Ebola virus disease, West Africa, March to August 2014,” a paper published in a European scientific journal Thursday, Sept. 11, written by Gerardo Chowell-Puente, a researcher at Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and Hiroshi Nishiura, a professor at the University of Tokyo.

The results have signaled a major epidemic with exponential consequences.

If the virus were to continue at the current transmission rate of 1.4 to 1.7 people for each newly person infected, West Africa could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014, Chowell-Puente said in an email.

That, however, is the worst-case scenario.

“The above scenario is highly unlikely as the intervention response is definitely improving,” he said.

The World Health organization has identified 3,707 cases thus far, including 2,106 confirmed, 1,003, probable and 598 suspected cases among Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea and Senegal as of Aug. 31, 2014.

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