The West African Ebola outbreak is out of control

It’s bad enough that the worst Ebola outbreak in history is spreading across national borders and evading the best efforts at containment, but now doctors are facing a new problem:  Angry, scared and dangerous villagers who don’t want doctors’ help.

International and local medics were struggling to get access to communities as many residents feared outsiders were spreading rather than fighting Ebola.

“It’s very difficult for us to get into communities where there is hostility to outsiders,” WHO spokesman Dan Epstein told a news briefing in Geneva. “We still face rumours, and suspicion and hostility. … People are isolated, they’re afraid, they’re scared.”

Health workers are growing increasingly alarmed as “high levels of new cases” are being reported — with 68 new cases reported in just the last 4 days.

Not the kind of ramp we want to see

Not the kind of ramp we want to see

 

We may not be epidemiologists, but we do know what exponential growth looks like, and the above chart frankly scares the hell out of us.  Anyone who knows how to plot a curve would likely agree that this has the potential to get “bad”  in the biblical sense of the word.

“The epidemic is out of control”…”we have reached our limits”

Doctors Without Borders had this to say:

The epidemic is out of control,” said Dr. Bart Janssens, MSF director of operations. “With the appearance of new sites in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, there is a real risk of it spreading to other areas.”

Since the outbreak began in March, MSF has treated 470 patients—215 of them confirmed cases—in specialized treatment centers.

However, MSF is having difficulty responding to the large number of new cases emerging in different locations.

We have reached our limits,” said Janssens. “Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by MSF in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites.”

This needs much more awareness.  This is one curve that can not be allowed to go vertical.   And given that the death-rate from Ebola is up to 90%,  that red line above may just be a time-offset of the blue line.