Evaluating Subcriticality during the Ebola Epidemic in West Africa.


The 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak is the largest and most widespread to date. In order to estimate ongoing transmission in the affected countries, we estimated the weekly average number of secondary cases caused by one individual infected with Ebola throughout the infectious period for each affected West African country using a stochastic hidden Markov model fitted to case data from the World Health Organization. If the average number of infections caused by one Ebola infection is less than 1.0, the epidemic is subcritical and cannot sustain itself. The epidemics in Liberia and Sierra Leone have approached subcriticality at some point during the epidemic; the epidemic in Guinea is ongoing with no evidence that it is subcritical. Response efforts to control the epidemic should continue in order to eliminate Ebola cases in West Africa.

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