The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) contended Monday that Ebola treatment beds supplied by the U.K. and Sierra Leone governments as well as NGOs prevented tens of thousands of Ebola cases in Sierra Leone.
The beds introduced in Sierra Leone reportedly provided significant benefits, such as increased isolation and encouraged the ill to seek early treatment and, in turn, receive proper burials. Consequently, LSHTM reports that an estimated 57,000 cases and up to 40,000 deaths were prevented in Sierra Leone.
"Our findings show the unprecedented local and international response led to a substantial decline in Ebola transmission,” Lead Author and Lecturer of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at LSHTM Adam Kucharski told Bio Prep Watch. “Given the rapid growth of the outbreak in Sierra Leone, if those beds hadn't been in place to isolate the ill and avert further infections, the epidemic could have been much worse."
However, researchers also claim, after employing mathematical models, that had the beds been introduced a month prior, an additional 12,500 Ebola cases could have been potentially prevented.
“The way we prepare for, and respond to, future outbreaks of Ebola and other infectious diseases needs to be strengthened," Study co-author and LSHTM Professor John Edmunds said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that Sierra Leone has seen 13,945 cases of the disease with approximately 70 percent of these resulting in fatalities in 2014. It is believed that there are cases that were not reported during the outbreak, implying that the case count is likely higher.