The Magic Number That Could End the Ebola Epidemic
Tom Randall, Bloomburg, 26 September 2014 (hat tip: NC)
But perhaps the most important Ebola number right now is 70 percent. That’s the proportion of patients who need to be isolated -- in treatment centers or at least in their homes -- in order to put a quick end to the Ebola outbreak, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Once 70 percent of patients are effectively isolated, the outbreak decreases at a rate nearly equal to the initial rate of increase,” researchers wrote today in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. If 70 percent of the current outbreak was achieved by late December, the epidemic “would be almost ended by January 20.”
Ebola's problem is that it kills its host too quickly (6 days assumed which includes burial time), and is not an airborne transmitted disease. The studies transmission rate is set at 30%/day for those in the same home with no isolation . The number is 2% for hospitalized, 3% for home care with appropriate precautions.
Note that killing your host does not actually help the virus/bacteria. That is why a lot of lethal disease mutate to tone down their deadliness over time. The lethal bugs are out competed by the less lethal ones that allow the host to walk around spreading them longer.
On a second note, as best I can tell, the reason why animal vectored diseases are often so deadly is because the "bug" often doesn't need to keep the host alive for as lengthy of a period.