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Association between temperature, humidity and ebolavirus disease outbreaks in Africa, 1976 to 2014.

Abstract

Ebolavirus disease (EVD) outbreaks have been occurring sporadically in Central Africa since 1976. In 2014, the first outbreak in West Africa was reported in Guinea. Subsequent outbreaks then appeared in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The study of environmental factors underlying EVD epidemiology may provide useful insights into when and where EVD outbreaks are more likely to occur. In this paper, we aimed to investigate the association between climatic factors and onset of EVD outbreaks in humans. Our results suggest lower temperature and higher absolute humidity are associated with EVD outbreak onset in the previous EVD outbreaks in Africa during 1976 to 2014. Potential mechanisms through which climate may have an influence on ebolavirus infection in the natural host, intermediate hosts and humans are discussed. Current and future surveillance efforts should be supported to further understand ebolavirus transmission events between and within species.

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