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Log chart ebola (EVD) deaths

This logarithmic chart updates the cases and deaths from the West Africa Ebola outbreak to July 3, 2015, and compares them to major historical wars and epidemics.

The seven-month drop in Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has stalled this last month at approximately one hundred cases in June. These were mostly single isolated cases and their contacts will be relatively few. However, until there are zero cases the disease can spring up again. This can happen in a remote village and go unnoticed for a while and develop into a group of potential spreaders. There is also the possibility of a super spreader generating many cases before they get really sick. For example, a sick ticket distributor at a bus station, with a runny nose, might spread the disease to many people, or a sick politician shaking hands with many people could be a super spreader. These are unlikely, but until the disease is totally gone it can happen. Therefore, the efforts must proceed with great energy for a month or two longer. After there are no additional cases for the recommended forty-two days, the outbreak will be officially over, but still an awareness in the medical community must be maintained worldwide, and that might be done with routine medical testing.

The sequestering of live EVD virus in survivors’ eyes may become a permanent problem, because if the eyes are ruptured for any reason the released fluids might contain live virus years later. If the virus is capable of surviving in these refugia sites there may be new sources of outbreaks for years to come. However, if the drugs already in development have molecules small enough to enter the refugia,  perhaps these people can be cleared of the disease. However, there are approximately 16,315 (27,550 cases – 11,235 deaths = 16,315) survivors who will need to be treated with these new drugs. It will be impossible to track every last known survivor, and there are undoubtedly some survivors who never entered the medical EVD tracking system. Some survivors may not even know they had EVD, thinking they had some other more common tropical disease.

A separate problem is that the various potential wild sources are not known. Bats are thought to be the natural reservoir for EVD, but there may be others. With modern CRISPR technology it may be possible to create methods that will eliminate the disease from its wild reservoir. To eliminate a disease from a wild animal population would be a marvelous thing, and if that disease could be eliminated, why not others? The technology may already exist for doing these things on a worldwide scale. The American CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) may become CDP (Centers for Disease Prevention)

In twenty years human diseases of the world may be gone, and most animal ones too.