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6,800 New Ebola Cases This Month, Study Predicts

Update Date: Sep 20, 2014 04:13 PM EDT

New Ebola cases could reach 6,800 in West Africa by the end of this month, if new control measures are not enacted, warned a new study. 

According to the study, the rate of rise in cases remarkably increased in August in Liberia and Guinea around the time that a mass quarantine was put in place. Deteriorating living and hygiene conditions in some of the quarantine areas also sparked riots last month. 

Sierra Leone began a three day country-wide quarantine today, where all citizens have been asked to stay at home, said Sherry Towers, research professor for the ASU Simon A. Levin Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center (MCMSC), in the press release.

"There may be other reasons for the worsening of the outbreak spread, including the possibility that the virus has become more transmissible, but it's also possible that the quarantine control efforts actually made the outbreak spread more quickly by crowding people together in unsanitary conditions," Towers said.

"No licensed vaccine or specific treatment for the disease is currently available. This leaves improved hygiene, quarantine, isolation and social distancing as the only potential interventions," added Carlos Castillo-Chavez, ASU Regent's professor and MCMSC executive director, in the press release. "Improved control measures must be put into place." On Tuesday, President Obama announced that 3,000 US troops and medical personnel would be sent to the region to help control the outbreak, he added.

The study was conducted by Arizona State University and is published in the online journal PLoS Outbreaks.

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