45 new Ebola cases caused daily by patients being turned away by overwhelmed volunteers

Tuesday, September 16, 2014
By Paul Martin

by: Jonathan Benson
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The collapse of Liberia’s healthcare system due to the Ebola crisis is spurring as many as 45 new cases of the illness daily, according to new data. Researchers from the UK figure that each patient turned away from already full clinics is inadvertently spreading the disease to 1.5 other people, a rate of reproduction that could result in a full-on “nightmare doomsday scenario.”

According to the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders in English, treatment centers in the Liberian capital of Monrovia are now so overwhelmed with patients that they are having to turn away roughly 30 people daily. Based on a reproduction rate of 1.5, this translates into a daily infection rate of about 45 people.

Joining a chorus of others in the international community, Professor John Edmunds, an epidemiologist from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says a massive increase in foreign aid is necessary to prevent what he says could have an “apocalyptic” impact on Liberia and its neighbors in the coming months.

Echoing what Liberia’s own president said during a recent press conference, the spread of Ebola throughout West Africa is reaching a point of exponential growth in which it will be nearly impossible to contain it. If more beds aren’t brought to these countries to treat and quarantine infected patients, in other words, the rate of disease spread will skyrocket.

“It could get very bad indeed,” stated Prof. Edmunds. “The doubling time of this epidemic is about two weeks, so if we are overwhelmed with our resources right now, it’s going to be twice as bad in two weeks’ time.”

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