Improved infection control practices, increased contact tracing, and even hoped-for pharmaceutical interventions like vaccines or antiviral drugs will apparently not halt the short-term spread of Ebola in West Africa, according to a new study.
A new research paper (Rivers et. al. 2014) using existing data from Liberia and Sierra Leone to model the forecast of the epidemic, concluded that “Near-term, practical interventions to address the ongoing Ebola epidemic may have a beneficial impact on public health, but they will not result in the immediate halting, or even obvious slowing of the epidemic.”
“…the epidemic has progressed beyond the point wherein it will be readily and swiftly addressed by conventional public health strategies. The halting of this outbreak will require patient, ongoing efforts in the affected areas and the swift control of any further outbreaks in neighboring countries.”
This is consistent with earlier predictions by those who stated that the window during which the epidemic might have been contained was back in May and June 2014 and was missed, such as Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. Early in September, he agreed with others who believe that there is no way to halt the disease now in Liberia and to a somewhat lesser degree in Sierra Leone. His prognosis was grave, predicting that the only way Ebola will stop in Liberia is when it has infected all of the people and killed almost half the population—about 5 million people. He felt that more and continued efforts, particularly international in scope, were still needed, and he did not suggest that we should abandon Liberia and Sierra Leone as lost causes. (Osterath 2014) .