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New Study Suggests End of Ebola in Liberia by June

FILE - Ebola first responders.
FILE - Ebola first responders.

A new study found Ebola could come to an end in Liberia by June, if the trend toward better hospitalization and preventive care continues.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, looked at factors such as the location of infection and treatment, the development of hospital capacity and the adoption of safe burial practices.

John Drake, a professor at the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia and lead author of the report, said the study looked at how various interventions that have been put in place affected transmission of the virus.

“We developed a computer model and our initial aim was to estimate the level of intervention that would be required for containment to occur. And ultimately, we used that model to project what the future of that epidemic will look like,” he said.

He said the model used took into account variables such as how many patients are hospitalized and how many health care workers are infected, rates of transmission from funerals where the corpses of victims are touched, and the relative effectiveness of Ebola control measures.

Drake said his team used information from the World Health Organization and the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare from July 4 to September 2.

He said there is a good chance Ebola can be eliminated or at least reduced to very low levels by the middle of this year.

“It will require continued vigilance and watchfulness on the part of the government health ministry; it will require continued willingness by the people of Liberia to participate in the counter-infection measures that have been taken so far,” Drake said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said nearly 3500 people have died from Ebola in Liberia. The WHO said more than 8200 people, mostly in West Africa, have died of the deadly virus, while more than 21,000 have been infected.

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