Ebola clocks up case 20,000 as the epidemic celebrates its first birthday

Ebola remains the most deadly disease on the planet.  Once you get it, you have about a 1 in 5 chance that you’ll make it out the other end


More than 20,000 people have been infected by Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea since the outbreak of the virus began, the World Health Organisation has said.

The WHO said in a statement on Monday that there have been 20,081 cumulative cases of infection in the three worst hit countries, and more than 7,842 Ebola-related deaths recorded.

The virus is still spreading intensely in Sierra Leone, the organisation said, with 315 new confirmed cases reported in the week to December 21. These included 115 cases in the capital Freetown.

In Guinea, 156 confirmed cases were recorded during the same period, “the highest weekly case incidence reported by the country in this outbreak”, it said.

In Liberia, where case incidence has been declining for the past month, 21 cases were reported in the week to December 21.

If there is one good thing about Ebola is that it has not been (more or less) exported to the rest of the world.  Yet.  

Ebola spreads through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

People caring for the sick or handling the bodies of people infected Ebola are especially exposed.

As of December 21 a total of 666 healthcare workers were known to have contracted the virus, and 366 of them had died, according to the WHO.

The Ebola epidemic, which claimed its first victim in Guinea exactly a year ago, is likely to last until the end of 2015, according to Peter Piot, a scientist who helped to discover the virus in 1976.

No cure or vaccine is currently available for Ebola, with the WHO authorising the use of largely untested treatments in efforts to combat the disease.

I have to admit to being surprised it has not spread across the world.  This is a credit to the procedures and health agencies in the countries that are currently struggling with the problems.

It does indeed make more sense to combat the disease where it is now, rather than wait until it comes here.  Still – a 3 out of 5 death rate for health professionals that have been exposed to Ebola isn’t the travel brochure people look for.

Perhaps those that go overseas to assist with the treatment of Ebola are just a special kind of insane.


– Al jazeera


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  • LabTested

    I think the IS Islamic nut jobs have missed an opportunity here.

    Person A goes to Sierra Leone, gets infected & flies to (lets say) Dubai.

    Person A then deliberately infects 10 other people (with their knowledge) – so those 10 are now carriers.

    The 10 Carriers fly to 10 different cities. They then just extract their blood, spray it around a few crowded places (metros, airports etc) & announce that they have also done the same in dozens of other places.

    Those 10 cities would have shut down for days

    • simon

      There’s a Clancy book with a similar plot, except they use monkeys to breed the vaccine and small bombs to spread it

    • Rick H

      I sure hope none of the IS idjits are readers of Whale Oil.
      LT may have just given them an idea.
      Let’s hope not. LOL

  • Nechtan

    As contagious and deadly as Ebola is; Dysentery, Cholera and Malaria have killed far more people in Africa the last year. Starvation and man would be up there too.

    • Aucky

      584,000 deaths worldwide from malaria in 2013 and 130,000 from cholera. Those stats, however, don’t sell newspapers.

  • KGB

    As horrible as it might sound, if we had ignored it, a few hundred isolated deaths and it would been gone. When we rush in with aid we spread it from village to village.