Early isolation of sickest may help contain Ebola

Isolating the sickest Ebola patients in the first few days they display symptoms may be key to containing the spread of the virus, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Based on an analysis of victims of the virus in Liberia, the hardest-hit country, isolating 75 percent of Ebola patients in critical condition no later than four days after their symptoms manifest stands a good chance of eliminating the virus, according to Dan Yamin, Ph.D., of Yale School of Medicine and colleagues.

However, Yamin and his team note that their data derive from "the initial dynamics of the epidemic, which may change as the outbreak and interventions evolve."

The study comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) reports the virus' spread in Liberia is slowing down, according to the New York Times. Infection and burial numbers are lower, and treatment centers in Monrovia are no longer faced with a deficit of beds for patients, WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward, M.D., told reporters.

"Do we feel confident that the response is now getting an upper hand on the virus? Yes, we are seeing a slowing of the rate of new cases very definitely," he said, according to the Times.

Meanwhile, Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse ordered into a mandatory quarantine by both New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) despite displaying no symptoms, vowed to proceed with her lawsuit against the state of Maine.

"If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom," Hickox said, according to Reuters.

President Barack Obama this week praised healthcare workers/ efforts to contain the outbreak in West Africa, including Craig Spencer, M.D., who recently tested positive for the virus in New York City, saying the workers "deserve to be treated like the heroes they are," the New York Daily News reported.

To learn more:
- here's the study abstract
- check out the Times article
- read the Reuters article
- here's the Daily News article