Simulations provided early warning to deadly potential of Ebola

Simulations provided early warning to deadly potential of Ebola
The Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute modeled the rate of infections and how interventions would affect the rate.

The Ebola epidemic could claim hundreds of thousands of lives and infect more than 1.4 million people by the end of January, according to a statistical forecast released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC forecast supports the drastically higher projections released earlier by a group of scientists, including epidemiologists with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, who modeled the Ebola spread as part of a National Institutes of Health-sponsored project called Midas, short for Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study.

The effort is also supported by the federal Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Before the scientists released results, the outbreak in West Africa was expected to be under control in nine months with only about 20,000 total cases. But modeling showed 20,000 people could be infected in just a single month.

The predictions could change dramatically if public health efforts become effective, but based on the virus's current uncontrolled spread, numbers of people infected could skyrocket.

"If the disease keeps spreading as it has been we estimate there could be hundreds of thousands of cases by the end of the year in Liberia alone," said Bryan Lewis, a computational epidemiologist with the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute.

Lewis and his fellow researchers use a combination of models to predict outcomes of the epidemic.

The agent-based models are adaptive, evolving as more information is fed into them, to provide an accurate forecast.

Pharmaceutical intervention, which is still on the horizon, is proving less effective in the models than supportive care and personal protection equipment for .

"The work with Ebola is not an isolated event," said Christopher Barrett, the executive director of the institute. "This research is part of a decades-long effort largely funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to build a global synthetic population that will allow us to ask questions about our world and ourselves that we have never been able to ask before, and to use those answers to prevent or quickly intervene during a crisis."

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US warns Ebola could infect 1.4 million by 2015

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Sep 26, 2014
Quarantine policies between continents need to be in play.

Please quit bringing infected back to their home continent, until they recover. They should remain on a designated aquatic infirmary (convert a Navy ship) until they are all cleared and any viral spores are found and destroyed.

We can't afford to have an active Ebola strain make it to another continent's general populace.

Some things that need to be considered, but aren't spoken about in the media. Maybe they've already been shut down.:

1a,Trade vessels with China, Indonesia, Australia, etc, and South America.
b, fishing vessels.
I'ts probably better for boats to just stay off-shore and ride out the infection on land. Return to another port or continent and seek refuge there (after clearing quarantine).

2, Where possible, any aircraft need to be grounded. I know most people over there are poor as dirt, but I bet someone has an airfield. You don't need a sick infectee crashing into a new neighborhood, making a "spot fire".

Sep 26, 2014
3, As I understand, Ebola can remain active outside the body for some time. Correct me if I'm wrong, maybe it's another entirely different Hemoragic Fever type virus.

They need a plan for humane, but sanitary disposal of the bodies (and in some cases the houses). Where possible, cremation may be in order, provided the virus can't survive being aerosolized at boiling temperatures. Simply burying people in a mass grave or ordinary grave will contaminate the ground water, and it may start all over again a few miles downstream.

4, Monkey season.
Pay people to hunt monkeys and TURN THEM IN FOR DISPOSAL, not eat them. Somewhere out there is a troop of infected "carrier" monkeys with this strain of ebola, and if they aren't found and eliminated, this will happen again...with this same strain...over and over again...

5, Local bat populations may need to be culled in an effort to wipe out this strain.

Sep 26, 2014
Bats are a problem.

I thought about using defoliation on the trees, which would take care of 3 types of bats: Fruit-eating, insect-eating, and even vampire bats, since other animals would leave looking for food.

Problem is of course, instead of dying, the bats could easily fly somewhere else, which you actually don't want, because that would spread the disease to other human and animal populations.

So defoliation is a no-go.

So it would seem like nothing short of traps or guns would deal with the bats.

Anyway, if you want to stop the outbreak, you can't just work on human-to-human transmission. You have to stop the carrier population, and that's going to be even harder, most likely. They could be anywhere in the region by now.

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