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Fatality Rate in West Africa Ebola Clinics Is Dropping

At Doctors Without Borders’ remaining treatment centers, the average death rate has fallen to 52 percent from 62 percent, and doctors are not sure why.

SEATTLE — As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa wanes, physicians from Doctors Without Borders are confronting a mystery: More of their patients are surviving. They do not know why.

Benetha Coleman, an Ebola survivor and nurse's aid, comforts an infant girl with Ebola symptoms in Paynesville, Liberia. (John Moore/Getty Images)

“The reasons are really unclear,” said Dr. Gilles van Cutsem, who helped run the agency’s response in Liberia and gave a presentation describing its experience at an AIDS conference here.

Doctors Without Borders, better known by its French name, Médecins Sans Frontières — has cared for more Ebola patients in West Africa than any other organization. At its peak, it was running 22 centers; it now runs eight.

Since last March, the average death rate at those remaining centers has dropped to 52 percent, from about 62 percent.

Dr. Sabeti said in an interview that she had heard that other teams had received samples but were waiting to publish articles about them in academic journals.

“With everything that’s going on, it’s unfortunate that we know so little,” she said. “This is a very cool finding about viral loads dropping, and I’d love to investigate it. We need some sort of incentive to share data.”

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Source: The New York Times (1551 Articles)
Written by Donald G. McNeil Jr.