The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could come with a $32 billion price tag, according to a report from the World Bank.
If the spread of the virus continues, it will inflict massive economic damage on Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and their neighbors, according to the report. "The international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.
The $32 billion figure applies to a scenario in which the virus is not immediately contained and spreads to neighboring countries; with rapid containment, the cost would be about $9 billion, according to the report.
Meanwhile, in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stepped up training for healthcare workers headed to West Africa, according to the Wall Street Journal. The CDC plans on training up to 40 medical staff per week into January, and the World Health Organization is setting up training centers in Africa as well.
The CDC has not treated Ebola patients since the early 2000s, after which Doctors Without Borders became the primary treatment provider for patients with the virus, Pierre Rollin, deputy chief of the CDC's viral special-pathogens branch, told the WSJ. But the agency has taken the lead in training because of the need to properly prepare healthcare workers, according to Michael Jhung, one of the training course leaders.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., died in Dallas yesterday. Duncan is a special case for several reasons, according to CNN.
For one thing, he was not hospitalized immediately when he presented with symptoms; Texas Health Presbyterian sent him home with antibiotics. "We don't know if [Duncan] would have died had he been treated when he first showed up at the hospital," Alan Card, a global communicative disease expert and risk assessment consultant, told VICE News.
After Duncan was diagnosed, he was not treated with the same experimental drug that Ebola patients at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital received. Duncan's family has also suggested he was treated differently because he had just arrived from Liberia to visit his girlfriend and because he was likely uninsured, according to CNN.