Transmission Dynamics and Final Epidemic Size of Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks with Varying Interventions

PLoS One. 2015 Jul 21;10(7):e0131398. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131398. eCollection 2015.


The 2014 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa was the largest and longest ever reported since the first identification of this disease. We propose a compartmental model for EVD dynamics, including virus transmission in the community, at hospitals, and at funerals. Using time-dependent parameters, we incorporate the increasing intensity of intervention efforts. Fitting the system to the early phase of the 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak, we estimate the basic reproduction number as 1.44. We derive a final size relation which allows us to forecast the total number of cases during the outbreak when effective interventions are in place. Our model predictions show that, as long as cases are reported in any country, intervention strategies cannot be dismissed. Since the main driver in the current slowdown of the epidemic is not the depletion of susceptibles, future waves of infection might be possible, if control measures or population behavior are relaxed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Western / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Ebolavirus*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological*
  • Predictive Value of Tests

Grant support

MVB, GK, GR, ZsV were supported by European Research Council StG 259559. GR was supported by Hungarian Scientific Research Fund OTKA K109782. AD was supported by Hungarian Scientific Research Fund OTKA PD 112463. YN was supported by JSPS Fellows, no.268448 of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, JSPS Bilateral open partnership joint research project, and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) RISTEX program for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy.