Ebola Spreading: Infections Up 800% In Last Week: Officials Race To Track Down 400 Possible Contacts

By Mac Slavo

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Last week three suspected Ebola infections were detected in a remote region of the Congo. Since then, World Health Organization officials have been scrambling to contain the virus.

Their efforts appear to have failed.

The contagion continues to spread, and though it’s nowhere near the 11,000 people who were infected during the outbreak in 2014, the infection rate has spiked over 800% in just the last seven days, with at least nine new cases reported in the last 24 hours:

The number of suspected cases of Ebola has risen to 29 from nine in less than a week in an isolated part of Democratic Republic of Congo, where three people have died from the disease since April 22, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

The risk from the outbreak is “high at the national level,” the W.H.O. said, because the disease was so severe and was spreading in a remote area in northeastern Congo with “suboptimal surveillance” and limited access to health care.

“Risk at the regional level is moderate due to the proximity of international borders and the recent influx of refugees from Central African Republic,” the organization said, but it nonetheless described the global risk as low because the area is so remote. (NY Times)

The 2014 outbreak likewise started in a remote region of Africa, but containment efforts were ineffective and the virus eventually spread to the United States and Europe.

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According to W.H.O., about 400 people have come into contact with the 29 people infected and officials are attempting to track them down for monitoring.

Protective gear has been dispatched to health workers and a mobile lab is being constructed and then deployed to the area. Immediate repairs to air strips and telecommunications are also being carried out. The first six months of the operation are expected to cost $10 million…

With the help of the UN, the first search teams, led by the DRC’s Ministry of Health, flew into Likati yesterday. Their immediate priority is to follow the 400 plus contacts of the suspected Ebola cases. (U.N. News Centre)

As we learned in 2014, all it takes is one infected individual to make it through an airport checkpoint.

With international travel via airports, trains and cars available throughout the region, a single infected individual on an airplane could infect scores of others, who in turn could infect scores more.

The following Ebola model from Yaneer Bar-Yam, who has successfully simulated and predicted such events as the rise of the Arab Spring, shows how an Ebola contagion may look.

The above model is based on Ebola’s current infection rates and doesn’t take into account its possible evolution …read more

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