Hundreds of thousands more people could fall victim to the Ebola epidemic making its way through parts of West Africa, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a worst case scenario, it predicts as many as 550,000 people could be infected by the end of January next year.
This number is much higher than any other estimates put forward. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said last month a comparatively small 20,000 cases could arise before the epidemic is brought under control.
Two people who worked on the latest report told Bloomberg that the figure did not take into account any aid or government intervention, and this may explain why there is such a disparity.
The report is scheduled to be released next week, but the figure is still under review and may change.
“CDC is working on a dynamic modeling tool that allows for recalculations of projected Ebola cases over time,” spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds told Bloomberg. “CDC expects to release this interactive tool and a description of its use soon.”
Since the start of the outbreak in Guinea in February, the virus has killed an estimated 2,630 people in West Africa, according to the WHO. Yesterday, the United Nations said efforts to contain the disease needed to be increased greatly. It also announced details of it own new emergency mission.
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