The Ebola virus could infect up to 500,000 people by the end of January, says a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A source familiar with the report’s contents released the figure on condition of anonymity on Friday.The report assumes no additional aid by governments and relief agencies to contain the spread of Ebola.
“CDC is working on a dynamic modeling tool that allows for recalculations of projected Ebola cases over time,” said Barbara Reynolds, spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The US national public health institute “expects to release this interactive tool and a description of its use soon,” she added.
The World Health Organization recently warned that the Ebola epidemic in the West African countries could eventually exceed 20,000 cases before it is brought under control. However, experts say cases are increasing so rapidly that the total number is almost certain to be much higher.
According to latest statistics by the WHO, at least 2,630 people have died of Ebola so far, while over 5,350 others are infected.Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the worst hit countries, while Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo have also been affected by the virus.
Ebola is a form of hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding. The virus spreads through direct contact with infected blood, feces or sweat. It can also be spread through sexual contact or the unprotected handling of contaminated corpses.