Positive news from Nigeria and Senegal is overshadowed by dire projections for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Ebola outbreak in these five West African countries as of September 22 is officially responsible for 5,864 infections and 2,811 deaths (WHO).
No new Ebola cases have been reported in Senegal or Nigeria since August 29 and September 8 respectively. Forty-two days, double Ebola’s incubation period, must pass before a country is considered transmission-free, but the outlook in these countries is optimistic (Al Jazeera). Indeed, Nigeria’s Minister of Health Dr. Onyebuchi Chukwu has stated publicly that Nigeria has zero cases of Ebola (Forbes).
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone account for 5,843 of the total infections and 2,803 of the total deaths, and the World Health Organization considers them “Countries with Widespread and Intense Transmission” (WHO). People are dying at home after being turned away from clinics because treatment centers are overwhelmed with cases (NY Times), and local misunderstandings of the nature of the outbreak continue to complicate containment efforts, with several alarming incidents of health workers and journalists being attacked and even killed by people they are trying to treat and educate (USA Today, LA Times).
The Centers for Disease control projects that “without additional interventions or changes in community behavior” the number of Ebola cases could reach as high as 1.4 million by January 20, 2015 (CDC).