Top Harvard Professor: Ebola Is about To Go Global, Prepare Now
Dr. Ashish Jah warned of the fast-paced spread of disease
As a deadly outbreak of Ebola continues to ravage the Democratic Republic of Congo, a top Harvard Professor has warned that the disease is about to go global and could infect counties like the US and Europe.
Dr. Ashish Jah warned that the fast-paced spread of the disease to the urban city of Mbandaka has illustrated how quickly Ebola can go viral.
According to the World Health Organisation, there have been 22 confirmed deaths from Ebola since April 2018.
DailyStar reports: But Dr. Jah warned it could spread to Europe and the US if it reaches the Congolese capital of Kinshasa, which has an estimated population of 12 million.
Dr. Jah – director at Harvard Global Health Institute – told Daily Star Online: "The worst case scenario is that it ends up in a capital city like Kinshasa.
"That in many ways is the worst case scenario because there it can become global in an interconnected world like ours."
“That would be the really catastrophic scenario because once it gets to a capital city, then it can really get global”
"The reason I raise it is that Kinshasa is down the river, it is the capital city and so we need to be paying attention to whether it's locally contained or does it spread through a national capital?
"And that's where it gets scary. Right now we have no evidence that's happening.
"But that would be the really catastrophic scenario because once it gets to a capital city, then it can really get global.
"I think it's unlikely right now. The thing to remember about Ebola is that when you're infected you're also pretty sick, so if people are not traveling if people are throwing up, diarrhea, fever, hard to get on plane or bus so they're usually at home.
"So that's the good news. But the bottom line is somebody could get infected, travel to a big city and then get sick there, and start spreading."
WHO said there have been 52 reported cases including the 22 deaths since April 4.
Last week the organization told Daily Star Online the spread to Mbandaka means there could be a repeat of the 2014 outbreak that killed over 11,000 people.
Those deaths came from 28,637 cases in the worst case of the disease since its discovery in 1976.
It also emerged today that a Catholic priest has been infected by the disease in the same town two infected patients fled a quarantine.
Although Dr Jah said he is "hopeful" it will be contained, he urged health bosses to remain vigilant.
He told us: "Unlike the worst outbreak the world is paying very close attention, very early, another reason we should be hopeful.
"But hopeful is not the same thing as confident there is going to be no problem here, we do have to do the hard work of making sure we identify everyone brings it quickly under control.
"I think because the DRC, it's pretty far away the only way it's going to spread to Europe and the US is if it ends up in a major city.
"I don't think people should be particularly worried, but what we know about Ebola is that if we don't handle it quickly in the place it's happening then the risk of spreading grows.
"So I think right now we have one job which is to identify cases and get people treatment."