Ebola Reproduction Number

The present Ebola scare has been going on since March of 2014 and is the most severe in terms of recorded human cases since 1976… by a MASSIVE margin.

The CDC has laboratory confirmed cases at 3974, and has spread through multiple countries now confirmed to have reached the United States. (this is as of  October 2014). The following map from the world health organization shows the current confirmed and probable cases in this current West African Ebola outbreak.

 

Ebola outbreak regional confirmed cases from the WHO
The WHO map for October 3rd showing Ebola outbreak regional confirmed and probable cases. http://www.who.int/

Ebola Virus in the US?

The CDC confirmed the first travel related case in the United states. An individual who had traveled to West Africa and returned to Dallas Texas began exhibiting symptoms 5 days after their return. The Ebola virus is only contagious if the person has begun to exhibit symptoms, so upon suspecting Ebola this individual was quarantined. The CDC, and US hospitals are taking this extremely seriously using meticulous infection control and ensuring anyone in contact is being monitored daily. They have identified 10 contacts, and 38 possible contacts (as of October 4, 2014).

Should You Worry About Ebola?

Unless you are in a West African hospital, I wouldn’t.

The reproduction rating or R0 or “R nought” is the mathematical term used to define how contagious a disease actually is. The BASICS of the R nought or reproduction rating are as follows…

If ONE person has an infectious disease – the reproduction rate tells us how many people on average will be infected by that ONE person.  In the case of Ebola an infected person typically passes it on to 1.5 to 2 people.

The math shows you that even with an R0 rating of 2, Ebola has the potential to spread exponentially. 1 person becomes 2, 2 become 4, 4 become 8, 8 become 16, and so on and so forth. The truth is though, Ebola is only contagious for about a week, and is only spread by close physical contact with bodily fluids that contain the virus.

So basically… as long as hospitals are vigilant and organizations like the CDC stay on point, there is no reason for Ebola can’t be contained easily in the western world.

NPR Explains This Perfectly

National Public Radio or NPR put out a tremendous article that explains this whole concept succinctly, and with a tremendous graphic I’ve placed below.

This graphic belongs entirely to NPR.org and clicking it will bring you to their article which I highly recommend.

Stay healthy, keep a strong immune system, and follow the glutathione pathway!

 

NPR.org graphic for the contagion rating of Ebola
This was posted by NPR.org
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/02/352983774/no-seriously-how-contagious-is-ebola

 

References

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/united-states-imported-case.html

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/geographic-map-03-oct-2014.png?ua=1

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/02/352983774/no-seriously-how-contagious-is-ebola

 

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