In a call with reporters Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said there was no expectation that the number of Ebola cases would reach the projections included in the report thanks in part to current aid efforts, but he warned that further delays in relief efforts could have huge consequences.
“The costs of delay are significant and that's why the response that we're seeing from the U.S. and from others is so incredibly important,” Frieden said. “Every day counts, and will make a difference in our ability to control this.”
The U.S. plans to send 3,000 military personnel to the region for logistical support with a total of 17 healthcare facilities being built to add 1,700 additional beds to treat those infected. Plans also include the training of as many as 500 healthcare workers a week, and distribution of home healthcare kits to households within affected countries.
The current number of cases totals more than 5,800 as of Sept. 22, according to the World Health Organization, with more than 2,800 reported deaths throughout Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The U.N. health agency also reported that the number of health workers infected by the virus had reached 337, and more than 181 had died as of Sept. 22.
In its own projections published online Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, the WHO estimated that the number of cases could increase to more than 20,000 by November if no change is made in efforts to contain the outbreak.
The CDC report projected the epidemic could be largely controlled if approximately 70% of infected patients were isolated in either an Ebola treatment unit or at home.
“A surge now can break the back of the epidemic,” Frieden said. “The importance of implementing effective programs rapidly can't be overemphasized.”
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