Ebola: 130 Americans projected to get it by year end. What are the symptoms of Ebola?
A risk-simulation study by a Newark-based catastrophe risk specialist predicts that the United States could face as many as 130 Ebola cases by year-end, or a few as 15.
Even at the higher end of that spectrum, the projection works out to less than one case per 2 million people in the United States.
Risk Management Solutions based its computer models on the current outbreak, which has killed more than 5,000 people in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
So far, just one person has died from Ebola virus disease in the United States, and just nine have been treated for the disease here. Of the nine, seven got the disease in West Africa. Two nurses were infected while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died last month at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Both recovered, and has six others treated for the virus in the United States.
RMS expects the majority of cases in this country to involve medical professionals such as doctors and nurses returning from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa. It doesn't expect the outbreak to be a significant cause of death in the U.S. or other parts of the world.
"Even the high end of our calculated range of new cases of Ebola in the U.S. is well within the nation's capacity to cope with an outbreak," said Dominic Smith, a pandemic risk expert and senior manager at RMS.
Specialized hospitals will be the first choice option for new cases, he said, "and even in more extreme cases we expect the many hospitals nationwide with at least one Ebola treatment bed in place to be able to handle the overspill."