someone at abc needs to check their calculations because 5 weeks ago when sierra leone and liberia declared a state of emergency, there were about 720 deaths and 1300 cases in west africa. according to latest reports from w.h.o.
, there have now been 1840 deaths and about 3700 cases. this represents a 155% increase in deaths and 180% increase in cases.
despite the average 50% mortality rate we can deduce from these stats, medecins sans frontieres, which is the aid organisation seeing the most cases, says that 80% of patients with confirmed ebola have died in west africa. w.h.o., m.s.f. and red cross all say that cases continue to be severely under-reported and even more so the number of deaths. we know from the previous outbreaks in the congo that there was about 90% mortality rate which is more in line with what m.s.f. reported in west africa. even though the ebola strain in west africa is not the same as the one in the congo, there are indications it has been just as deadly. the difference is that in the congo the residents, including traditional villagers, were familiar with the virus and already had quarantine procedures in place. aid money went on treatment, staff and supplies, much earlier and with better cooperation from the people.
in the three worst affected countries (guinea, liberia, sierra leone), there is a huge lack of clinics (one doctor to 100,000 residents most of which are located in urban areas), other health staff, security personnel to enforce quarantining, and medical supplies including personal protective equipment. the corrupt governments in these countries have squandered aid money from individuals, organisations and foreign governments. aid organisations are dropping off vast supplies of p.p.e. and other essentials but reports from nurses who have had a recent strike in sierra leone due to this and many other shortages in the anti-ebola fight are that the p.p.e. making its way to their clinics are substandard.
another scary development is the spread of ebola to senegal. it remains to be seen how well their government and health system will respond.
5 weeks ago w.h.o. estimated that at best-case scenario, the outbreak will continue for another 6 months if systems were to be vastly improved. in light of shocking reports in the past 5 weeks this outbreak is likely to extend far beyond that.