RMS Catastrophe Models Estimate U.S. Could Experience 15 to 130 New Ebola Cases Before Year’s Ends
Majority of U.S. cases expected to occur among American medical professionals returning from West Africa
NEWARK, Calif. -
November 03, 2014 -
RMS, the world’s
leading catastrophe risk management firm, estimates there will be between 15 to
130 new cases of Ebola in the United States between now and the end of December
– fewer than one case per 2 million people – based on modeling of the current
Ebola outbreak. It is expected that the majority of cases in the U.S. will occur
among medical professionals returning from West Africa.
Last week, RMS introduced the world’s
first probabilistic model of the West Africa Ebola outbreak, which revealed
the current outbreak has potential to be one of the deadliest infectious disease
events since the 1918 flu pandemic. Despite the heavy toll Ebola is inflicting
on West Africa, RMS does not expect this outbreak to become a significant
mortality threat in the U.S. or other parts of the world.
“Even the high end of our calculated range of new
cases of Ebola in the U.S. is well within the nation’s capacity to cope with an
outbreak,” said Dominic Smith, pandemic risk expert and senior manager of
LifeRisks at RMS. “Specialized Ebola isolation facilities should be able to
deal with the caseload, and even in more extreme cases we expect the many
hospitals nationwide with at least one Ebola treatment bed in place to be able
to handle the overspill.”
RMS’s modeling methodology involved:
Simulating the number of new U.S. cases emerging from West Africa based
on existing infection rates for U.S. medical professionals operating in the
Incorporating expectations for future West African
caseloads and medical staff on the ground in November and December based on RMS's
modeled epidemic scenarios.
Modeling the range of further spread of imported cases given U.S.
preparedness, which is much improved over the affected region in West Africa.
The broad range of
estimated cases in the U.S. is due to the exponential nature of the epidemic,
in which RMS projects the total number of new worldwide cases to double every
month until a turning point is reached. The current model does not include
automatic quarantining measures that some areas in the U.S. are implementing,
which could both reduce the number of contacts for imported cases, as well as
increase the travel burden on – and perhaps reduce the number of – U.S.
volunteers planning to support the effort in West Africa.
RMS models and software help financial institutions and public agencies evaluate and manage catastrophe risks throughout the world, promoting resilient societies and a sustainable global economy.