Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


The worst-ever Ebola epidemic by numbers

07 November 2014, 13:33

Abuja - As the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola continues to ravage West Africa, here are a few key numbers to get a handle on the epidemic:

13 042 and 4 818:

According to an update this week from the World Health Organisation, there have been 13 042 Ebola cases and 4 818 deaths since the first child died of the virus in December – but those figures include all probable, suspected and confirmed cases and are subject to change as more information becomes available. The numbers have actually dropped slightly in the past week because numbers fluctuate as more data becomes available, and as probable and suspected cases are either discarded or confirmed.

Experts warn the number of cases and deaths are likely far below the actual numbers, as people may be reluctant to seek care and officials are too overwhelmed with control efforts to record every single case. The vast majority of patients are in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Cases and deaths are typically only recorded days after people become symptomatic or die, which complicates a real-time understanding of Ebola.

"We are definitely getting a delayed picture of the outbreak," said Sebastian Funk, a lecturer in infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. "It's difficult to tell if we are reaching a turning point or if there will be a doomsday scenario. I could see it going either way at the moment."


There have been four cases of Ebola in the U.S. and a single death — Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the country, who later died at a Dallas hospital. Three other cases of Ebola have been reported in the U.S., all in health workers who had direct exposure taking care of Ebola patients.


There are now eight countries that have reported Ebola detected on their soil: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the U.S. Other countries like Britain, France and Germany have taken in people sickened by the deadly virus in West Africa but they have not reported any spread of the virus there.


According to WHO, 4 707 beds are needed across West Africa in Ebola treatment clinics; at the moment, just 22 percent of the necessary number are operational. The agency estimates a further 2,685 beds are needed for basic Ebola clinics where minimal treatment is provided and people are mostly isolated while waiting for test results. At the moment, just 4 percent of beds in these community clinics are available.

Given the uncertainty around case numbers, Funk says things like bed occupancy are a good sign of how the outbreak is evolving.

"We really need to see numbers go down for several weeks to be confident it's a real trend," he said. "If hospitals aren't filling up anymore that is a good indirect indicator things are moving in the right direction."


It took two months for Britain to build and open its first Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone this week, an 80-bed facility with a dozen other beds reserved for infected health workers. The Kerry Town clinic, near the capital, Freetown, is the first of six centres to be built by the U.K. in Sierra Leone. It includes a triage centre, ambulance pads, laboratory, pharmacies and decontamination units. In about the same time that it took to build the Ebola clinic, Sierra Leone has reported more than 3 500 cases of Ebola.


WHO reports that 546 health workers have been infected with Ebola, of whom 310 have died. Since Ebola is spread via contact with the bodily fluids of a patient, health workers are at high risk of catching the disease. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that no skin be showing in a health worker treating Ebola patients.


There is one remaining American hospitalised with Ebola, Dr. Craig Spencer in New York, a physician who worked for Doctors Without Borders in Guinea. He continues to show improvement, remains in isolation and is in a stable condition.

- Health24

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...