Infectious disease experts predict anywhere from a mere one or two additional cases of Ebola to a worst-case scenario of 130, according to simulations conducted for the Associated Press.
Almost all of the predicted cases will be healthcare workers returning from West Africa.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a huge outbreak here, no,” Dr. David Relman, a professor of infectious disease, microbiology and immunology at Stanford University’s medical school, told the AP. “However, as best we can tell right now, it is quite possible that every major city will see at least a handful of cases.”
A total of eight patients have currently been treated for Ebola in the U.S.
Only two of them contracted Ebola within the U.S., and both were healthcare workers who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted Ebola in Liberia.
Both nurses recovered and have been released.
Dominic Smith, a pandemic risk expert, ran a simulation for the AP that projected 15 to 130 cases in the U.S. before the end of the year.
Another expert, Northeastern University professor Alessandro Vespignani, is more worried about the disease making its way to Asia.
“My worry is that the epidemic might spill into other countries in Africa or the Middle East, and then India or China. That could be a totally different story for everybody,” he said.
There have been a total of nearly 14,000 total cases of Ebola. Nearly 5,000 have died of the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.