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Originally published October 31 2014

WHO quietly admits that 5% of Ebola patients incubate the virus beyond 21 days

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Nearly 42 days have passed since any new cases of Ebola have turned up in the countries of Senegal and Nigeria, both in West Africa. But a recent update issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that as many as 2 percent of Ebola patients can start to show symptoms beyond the standard 42-day surveillance period, suggesting more possible cases.

According to infectious disease experts, Ebola has a maximum incubation period of about 21 days, meaning the virus can lie dormant for up to three weeks before manifesting as fever, chills, vomiting or worse. To be safe, WHO and others typically monitor potential Ebola victims for twice this amount of time, or 42 days, which is standard containment protocol.

But as it turns out, not all Ebola patients start to show symptoms within this time period. While a 42-day monitoring window will catch the vast majority of Ebola cases, up to 2 percent will slip by and begin to show symptoms later. It is this small percentage that WHO hasn't really talked much about, other than to slip it into a report suggesting that two countries are about to be declared Ebola-free.

"98% [of Ebola patients] have an incubation period that falls within the 1 to 42 day interval," says WHO. "WHO is therefore confident that detection of no new cases, with active surveillance in place, throughout this 42-day period means that an Ebola outbreak is indeed over."

Five percent of Ebola patients will start to show symptoms after 21 days

But is it? WHO goes on to explain that, based on the findings of several recent studies, only about 95 percent of Ebola patients start to show symptoms within the 21-day incubation period. This means that up to 5 percent of Ebola patients will be falsely declared not to have the disease, based on the currently accepted criteria.

If WHO's latest figure of nearly 9,000 documented Ebola cases is correct, as many as 450 Ebola patients have gone, or will go, undetected using official WHO monitoring protocols. What this means for the current outbreak remains unclear, but it does suggest that potential Ebola cases may need to be monitored for longer than 42 days in order to stop the disease's spread.

WHO decries government testing that declares a case 'negative' after just a few hours

Despite its flaws, WHO's approach to stopping this Ebola outbreak is light-years ahead of how the U.S. government is handling the situation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for instance, has been busy announcing negative Ebola cases all across the country, despite the fact that many of these cases did not even undergo a 21-day monitoring period, let alone a 42-day one.

"WHO is alarmed by media reports of suspected Ebola cases imported into new countries that are said, by government officials or ministries of health, to be discarded as 'negative' within hours after the suspected case enters the country," reads the WHO report.

"Such rapid determination of infection status is impossible, casting grave doubts on some of the official information that is being communicated to the public and the media."

WHO is now advising governmental health bodies to submit their first 25 positive cases and 50 negative specimens to WHO testing centers for secondary confirmation. The United Nations body also says health agencies should be mandating a 42-day minimum evaluation period before declaring any potential Ebola cases as negative.

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