Factoring in Underreporting There Might be 12000 Deaths from Ebola

The total number of confirmed , probable, and suspected cases) in the West African epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported up to the end of 5 October 2014 (epidemiological week 40) was 8033 with 3865 deaths.

The update for two weeks later is below but it has not provided an update on Liberia. Liberia has over half of the cases.

The World Health Organization and Center For disease control have estimated that only two out of every five cases are reported.

This means that a better estimate is around 12000 deaths and 23,000 cases.

* cases need to be followed up on and verified to be counted. To do that, a team of two to four investigators is dispatched to hunt for the suspected Ebola victim.
* confirming the cause of death doesn’t always happen. There are reports of mass graves
* Many Ebola cases are still in hiding
* Poverty makes tracking Ebola much more challenging

There are many other diseases in Africa.

However, Liberia only has a population of 4.4 million with a normal 9.9 death rate per 1000. Normally one would expect 43,560 deaths in a year and about 120 per day.

Over a two week period that would be 1,671 deaths. 500 reported Ebola deaths would be about 1 in three. If there is underreporting of 2.5 then the Ebola deaths would be almost doubling the normal death rate. Also, the Ebola deaths would not mostly be children and babies, which are the majority of deaths in low-income African countries.