WHO Warns Ebola Outbreak Could Virtually Last Forever If Not Shortly Contained

If the world doesn’t get the Ebola outbreak in West Africa under control quickly, the disease could become a permanent fixture in the region, spreading as routinely as malaria or the flu, the World Health Organization warns today in a new report. Although some experts dispute that dire scenario, many agree that the virus could circulate for years if it’s not stopped soon. The notion that Ebola could become endemic in West Africa — spreading routinely, rather than in sporadic outbreaks — is “a prospect that has never before been contemplated,” according to the report, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. There could be 20,000 cases by Nov. 2, with thousands of new cases per week, the report said. About 70% of patients are dying from the illness.

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