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The downward trend of the Ebola disease is most easily seen in the red C’s = Cases and the black D’s = Deaths placed on the end of each month. The data points used on this chart have been placed at the end of the previous month from the data available on that date. However, the source I derive this from gets upgraded later when new information comes in from remote sources that fit into that week, so there will be small discrepancies, and they will appear small on this logarithmic chart. Also, as time passed WHO has varied their way of presenting the material, but I have tried to present a consistent view of their data so the trends would be clearer when graphed logarithmically.
There has been a general downward trend of cases since November due to the enormous efforts made by many people. Unfortunately, last month there was a traditional burial where touching of the dead body transmitted the Ebola virus to a group and that event created a cluster of cases. This last week there were only nine cases reported, and if all of the people those victims came into contact with can be traced and carefully monitored there could be a sudden drop to zero cases by the end of next month. Then there will be a twenty-one day incubation period wait, doubled just in case there was an unknown victim with a transmission, before the Ebola outbreak will be declared ended.
Unfortunately another disaster may be looming because the Ebola virus has been discovered residing in people’s eyes and in men’s semen, months after it has been cleared from the blood. It appears that the eyes and testes and perhaps some other organs can sequester the virus where it escapes detection and destruction by the victim’s natural disease-fighting systems. A standard blood test is normally used for declaring a victim cleared of the disease. But with these new discoveries it appears that the virus may reside permanently within these refugia sites. If that is true, then it would be possible to catch Ebola virus disease years later when one of these refugia organ sites is ruptured for any reason, and the virus enters the blood system. The most likely person to catch the disease anew would be the original victim, but anyone exposed to those fluids would be a risk. Perhaps even a person dying normally who had an Ebola refugium and wasn’t buried immediately, could in the normal process of decomposing generate a mass of deadly material as dangerous as a person known to have died directly of Ebola. Also of concern is that this Ebola virus having lived for a long time within a human might evolve into a form that is more compatible to living in humans, and therefore be even more dangerous to the general human population.
On a more positive note, it appears that the drug industry is being successful in developing drugs that will cope with Ebola. These drugs are too late for this outbreak, but as this disease has an unknown wild reservoir it is nearly certain that there will be human transfers in the future, and therefore the chance of another outbreak. The new drugs would probably be effective for coping with these new outbreaks, and the techniques used to develop these new drugs can be quickly applied to anything slightly different about a new Ebola disease. The struggle to end this disease must continue for the time being because –
The West African Ebola Virus Disease isn’t gone until it’s totally gone.