As of today, the WHO has reported 4 confirmed cases of Ebola in capital city Conakry, upping the total to 103 cases in Guinea.
The reality is simple; 4 cases of Ebola in a large, bustling metropolis is not equivalent to 4 cases in a small, forested community. (The other ~100 cases have all been confined to the latter – a more “traditional” setting for Ebola, historically speaking.) In epidemiology, population density is a significant driver of how contagious a given infectious disease can be. Paired with greater access to out-of-country travel opportunities (air travel, etc.), the likelihood of effective isolation in Conakry’s urban setting is diminishing as we speak. This phenomenon holds especially true in developing countries like Guinea, where hospitals are not well-equipped to establish absolute quarantine.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Donka Hospital – where the 4 Conakry-based Ebola victims are being held currently – has been repeatedly slammed for disturbingly inadequate facilities.
So, what does this all mean? In theory, we might expect to see an increased number of cases – and perhaps accelerated transmission across borders – in the next several weeks. Based off of this information, I will be making some adjustments to the model I posted on the 25th regarding the likelihood of Ebola spreading to the United States. You can find the original article here. Stay tuned for more information!