Pondering the Ebola Virus’ Ripple Effects

As the stock market skids lower this week after several speed bumps have emerged in the global economy, there is one that could be more than a bump. Not to be a fearmonger, but the Ebola virus, a severe, often-fatal illness in humans, has spread like wildfire in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus is killing 70% of the people who contract the disease.

So far there have only been a few reported cases inside the United States, but there is great concern — read that as fear — the disease could spread further, not just in the United States, but in other countries as well. As reported in October 2014, the WHO believes there could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week in alone in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of this year as the outbreak spreads.

A recent World Bank study estimated that if the epidemic is not contained quickly, by the end of 2015 it could cost Liberia 12% of its gross domestic product (GDP) and Sierra Leone 8.9% of its GDP. The World Bank goes on to estimate that if the outbreak spreads more widely to neighboring countries with larger populations and economies, then the two-year financial cost could reach $32.6 billion. We’d note that during October 2014, when the urgency was high and fear was climbing, there were no licensed Ebola vaccines, but two potential candidates were undergoing evaluation.

While certainly not a fad, the question to ponder at the moment is: what are the implications and economic effects of the Ebola virus?

Read more about the economic ripples of the Ebola Virus at Eagle Daily Investor.