Ebola outbreak in Liberia could be over by June

The Ebola epidemic in Liberia could end by June if high levels of hospitalization and vigilance can be maintained, according to a model developed by University of Georgia and Pennsylvania State University ecologists.

The new epidemic model developed by the ecologists estimates the disease's reproductive number, which is typical of epidemic models, but also includes variables like infection and treatment setting, individual variation in infectiousness, the build-up of hospital capacity over time and the adoption of safe burial practices.

It could be the first model to include all of those elements, according to John Drake, the project leader and an associate professor at the UGA Odum School of Ecology.

If a hospitalization rate of 85 percent can be upheld, the outbreak could be contained by June.

Mr. Drake called the June end of the epidemic "a realistic possibility but not a foregone conclusion" and encouraged maintaining vigilance.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa — the worst in history — has persisted since early in 2014. Ebola has taken the lives of 8,414 people in West Africa as of Jan. 11, and 3,538 of those deaths were in Liberia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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