Spatiotemporal spread of the 2014 outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Liberia and the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions: a computational modelling analysis

S. Merler, M. Ajelli, L. Fumanelli, M.F.C. Gomes, A. Pastore y Piontti, L. Rossi, D.L. Chao, I.M. Longini Jr, M.E. Halloran, A. Vespignani
The Lancet Infectious Diseases
15: 204—11 (2015)
June 15, 2015


The 2014 epidemic of Ebola virus disease in parts of west Africa defines an unprecedented health threat. We developed a model of Ebola virus transmission that integrates detailed geographical and demographic data from Liberia to overcome the limitations of non-spatial approaches in projecting the disease dynamics and assessing non-pharmaceutical control interventions. We modeled the movements of individuals, including patients not infected with Ebola virus, seeking assistance in health-care facilities, the movements of individuals taking care of patients infected with Ebola virus not admitted to hospital, and the attendance of funerals. Individuals were grouped into randomly assigned households (size based on Demographic Health Survey data) that were geographically placed to match population density estimates on a grid of 3157 cells covering the country. The spatial agent-based model was calibrated with a Markov chain Monte Carlo approach. The model was used to estimate Ebola virus transmission parameters and investigate the effectiveness of interventions such as availability of Ebola treatment units, safe burials procedures, and household protection kits.‍‍

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