(HealthDay News) — Isolation of patients with Ebola in critical condition within days of symptom onset is likely to have a high chance of eliminating the disease, according to a study published online October 28 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dan Yamin, PhD, from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, CT, and colleagues examined the contribution of disease progression and case fatality to transmission of Ebola. A stochastic transmission model that integrates epidemiologic and clinical data on the basis of the 2000–2001 outbreak in Uganda was used, together with primary data on contacts of patients with Ebola in Liberia.

The researchers found that for a single infected case, the average number of secondary infections generated throughout the entire infectious period, R0, was estimated as 1.73. Substantial stratification was seen between survivors and nonsurvivors (R0Survivors, 0.66 vs. R0Nonsurvivors, 2.36). The risk of transmitting the virus later in the course of disease progression was highest for nonsurvivors. The chance of disease elimination appeared to be high with isolation of 75% of infected individuals in critical condition within four days of symptom onset.

“Our results show that isolating infected individuals before they progress into their late phase of illness, which is also their most infectious period, may facilitate the reversal of the volatile Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” the authors write.

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