Rapid drop in the reproduction number during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

PeerJ. 2015 Nov 19;3:e1418. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1418. eCollection 2015.


The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) experienced a confined rural outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) with 69 reported cases from July to October 2014. Understanding the transmission dynamics during the outbreak can provide important information for anticipating and controlling future EVD epidemics. I fitted an EVD transmission model to previously published data of this outbreak and estimated the basic reproduction number R 0 = 5.2 (95% CI [4.0-6.7]). The model suggests that the net reproduction number Rt fell below unity 28 days (95% CI [25-34] days) after the onset of symptoms in the index case. This study adds to previous epidemiological descriptions of the 2014 EVD outbreak in DRC, and is consistent with the notion that a rapid implementation of control interventions helped reduce further spread.

Keywords: Basic reproduction number; Democratic Republic of Congo; Ebola virus disease; Mathematical model; Outbreak.

Grant support

Christian L. Althaus received funding through an Ambizione grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation (project 136737). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.