This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Is Ebola About to Take Off?

The Ebola virus is obviously not going away. Quite the contrary, everything is getting worse, as reflected in a news story and an opinion piece in the New York Times. As bad as the recent projections by the WHO might be, it seems that most scientists looking at the situation are even more alarmed.
The deadly Ebola outbreak sweeping across three countries in West Africa is likely to last 12 to 18 months more, much longer than anticipated, and could infect hundreds of thousands of people before it is brought under control, say scientists mapping its spread for the federal government.
“We hope we’re wrong,” said Bryan Lewis, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech.
Among researchers looking at the possible trajectory of the disease are those at Columbia University's Earth Institute, who put together the following figure:
Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota argues that the spread of the disease is due largely to its migration, so to speak, from isolated villages (where it can be controlled) to cities where it is much harder to cope with. And, for the moment, no one is charge in the battle against Ebola. So, we need someone to take charge, and then we need to keep in mind that battling Ebola takes a toll on battling all those other diseases that beset West Africa.

1 comment:

  1. it's interesting to wonder what "happened" with this particular strain of ebola ... that caused such a sharp increase in the transmission rate. it seems that in previous outbreaks - the diseas was so deadly that the carriers of the virus died quickly BEFORE they could spread it to many other people. Perhaps this strain develops justa little more slowly?? or maybe the ebola virus was just introduced into more crowded urban environments more quicly this time. One thing is for sure - it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, for scientists to get a clear set of data on the exact spread of the disease. you know Africa ... :-) Pete, Redondo Beach