Ebolavirus Transmission at JSM2020

Thursday April 16, 2020

•  Ebola •  data science •  public health •  statistics •  epidemics •  hemorrhagic fever •  transmissibility • 

Back in December, I did a study on Ebolavirus transmission rates in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Nothing special, but the DRC outbreak had been going on for just over a year and nobody had seemed to notice it. Anyway, it was accepted to JSM, which I just found out is going virtual this year. I am not sure how that’s going to work, but as we explore this new world, here we go. Here’s the abstract:

This study reviews the 2018-2020 Ebolavirus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ebolavirus is a viral hemorrhagic fever principally transmitted via bodily fluids. The mortality rate among victims is approximately fifty percent. This outbreak is in the Congolese region of Kivu and across the border in Uganda and is the second largest outbreak of Ebolavirus recorded. This study uses daily data on new infections from public data sources to estimate the basic reproductive number ([latex]R_0[/latex] or R-nought) for outbreak. The results can be used as part of treatment and contagion control mechanisms.

The most interesting portion of this is a report that came out of the Washington Post last week that after 52 straight days of no new infections, a new case had popped up. This is troubling even in good times. Despite the world’s focus on COVID-19, we cannot forget there are other dangerous pathogens out there.