Ebola patients in United States fare well

the Clinical Advisor take:

Ebola patients in the United States have been doing well due to supportive care, clarifying levels of risk, and early isolation, according to a report published on MedPage Today.

The United States has only had nine confirmed cases of Ebola despite widespread concern, and only one person has died from the disease. This gives the United States a 12.5% mortality rate, compared to the approximate mortality rate of 49% in the 10,114 total cases in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

Experts believe that the high level of care given to U.S. patients has played a major role, but other factors also contribute to the relative success of the United States: supportive care, clarifying levels of risk, and early isolation.

Hospitals in the United States have excellent supportive care for patients with Ebola, and these measures have been taken promptly in each case of the disease. Another key factor of Ebola severity is the size of the infecting dose: the larger the infecting dose, the more aggressive the case. In the United States, those who have been infected have likely only been exposed to small doses.

The CDC has issued guidelines to clarify levels of risk for potential patients which have also contributed to Ebola prevention in the United States. For each level of risk, they outline different testing and quarantine measures that should be taken.

Early isolation of patients who present with disease symptoms is another key factor in preventing spread of Ebola. A mathematical analysis has showed that isolating a patient within 4 days of symptom onset can drastically reduce the disease’s spread by reducing the number of people they could potentially infect.

Patients with Ebola in the United States fare well
Patients with Ebola in the United States fare well

The scorecard for Ebola in the U.S. is overwhelmingly positive. Despite widespread concern, the country has had only nine confirmed cases of the disease. Of those, just one has died. Seven have been cured and the ninth remains in treatment.

In contrast, the World Health Organization (WHO) said at the weekend that in the three West Africa countries with intense transmission -- Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone -- there have been 10,114 cases and 4,912 deaths.

Crudely, those numbers yield a mortality rate of 49% -- markedly higher than the 12.5% fatality rate in the U.S.

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