Ebola Epidemic Grows and Spreads

Antimicrobial Test laboratories last updated its clients on the ongoing West African Ebola outbreak on August 25, 2014.  At that time, the outbreak had infected approximately 2,615 people in Africa and caused about 1,427 deaths.  

Just two months later on October 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports 12,008 suspected cases and 5,078 deaths. 

In Africa, Ebola virus spreads at a rate of approximately two new infections for each old infection, resulting in exponential growth, as shown below (data through October 18, CDC).

Recent data, from epidemiological weeks 38-42, suggests the rate of new cases is decreasing.  Under-reporting of illness may be responsible for this apparent decline.  In any case, the spread rate must be held below “one” for a long period of time in order to stop the outbreak.