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More than 1 million Ebola cases may hit West Africa by January

CDC and World Health Organization offer dire predictions for epidemic

3:50pm, September 24, 2014
putting on protective gear against Ebola

SUITING UP  Cases of Ebola will continue to spread quickly if drastic improvements aren’t made to isolate and treat infected individuals.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa could cause more than 1 million casualties unless improved isolation and treatment of patients are put in place, new projections of the outbreak suggest. Without drastic improvements, weekly cases of Ebola should increase from hundreds to thousands, World Health Organization officials and others report in the New England Journal of Medicine September 23. In less than six weeks, the scientists say, the number of infections could surpass 20,000.

The report’s authors also calculate that the fatality rate of this year’s infections is about 71 percent, substantially higher than earlier estimates of around 50 percent.

Worrisome projections also come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts there now predict that within a week, the reported outbreak numbers could top 8,000 cases. But owing to underreporting, the actual infection numbers

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