The role of interconnectivity in control of an Ebola epidemic

Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 7:6:29262. doi: 10.1038/srep29262.


Several West African countries - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea - experienced significant morbidity and mortality during the largest Ebola epidemic to date, from late 2013 through 2015. The extent of the epidemic was fueled by outbreaks in large urban population centers as well as movement of the pathogen between populations. During the epidemic there was no known vaccine or drug, so effective disease control required coordinated efforts that include both standard medical and community practices such as hospitalization, quarantine and safe burials. Due to the high connectivity of the region, control of the epidemic not only depended on internal strategies but also was impacted by neighboring countries. In this paper, we use a deterministic framework to examine the role of movement between two populations in the overall success of practices designed to minimize the extent of Ebola epidemics. We find that it is possible for even small amounts of intermixing between populations to positively impact the control of an epidemic on a more global scale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Burial / methods
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Ebolavirus / pathogenicity
  • Epidemics / prevention & control*
  • Guinea / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Liberia / epidemiology
  • Quarantine / methods
  • Sierra Leone / epidemiology