Ebola not very contagious and hard to get


No, Seriously, How Contagious Is Ebola? : Shots – Health News : NPR
[Via Health News : NPR]

Holy moly! There’s a case of Ebola in the U.S.!

That first reaction was understandable. There’s no question the disease is scary. The World Health Organization now estimates that the virus has killed about 70 percent of people infected in West Africa.

The Ebola case in Dallas is the first one diagnosed outside Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday. And the health care system in Texas didn’t quarantine the man right away. He was sick with Ebola — and contagious — for four days before he was admitted to the hospital.


This is an important number to get out. It’s R0 is 2.  It represents the basic reproduction number. Someone with Ebola infects 2 others.

This is quite low (measles has an R0 of about 18) and can be dealt with using public health protocols.

It is not easy to get Ebola. Simple isolation can stop an epidemic. Only 50% of the people would need vaccines for herd immunity to work. We need >94% immunized to protect against pertussis or measles.

Vaccines are on the way. Add in useful therapies like anti-virals and there should be little to worry about.