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Oct 21

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Columbia Prediction of Infectious Diseases

Map of outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Africa by strain and confirmed contractions. Created by: Zach Orecchio, University of South Florida Geography Dep.

Map of outbreaks of the Ebola virus in Africa by strain and confirmed contractions.
Created by: Zach Orecchio, University of South Florida Geography Dep, Obtained from Wikipedia, Creative Commons.

One of the major questions that international agencies and governments have been wrestling with is the likely future of the Ebola epidemic in Africa. Perhaps the best website for these predictions is the Columbia Prediction of Infectious Diseases site. Unfortunately, despite the heroic efforts currently being made in West Africa, the curve towards mid-November shows a steady increase. Of course, there are success stories as well, as Nigeria has recently been declared Ebola-free. But this site indicates the scale of the challenge that world currently faces. The website is also useful for tracking yearly influenza epidemics.

At this date, a great deal rides on the outcome of Ebola vaccine trials. The Canadian government yesterday sent 800 vials of experimental vaccine to the WHO, for this organization to distribute as it sees best. The world is also increasing the supplies and manpower provided to West Africa. It is now clear that everyone underestimated the dangers of this outbreak, because Ebola had been controlled before. What has been different has been that this outbreak is taking place in an urban setting.

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Shawn Smallman, Portland State University

Permanent link to this article: https://www.introtoglobalstudies.com/2014/10/columbia-prediction-of-infectious-diseases/