Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division

Publication Spotlight

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A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic

Mapping Ebola

Mapping Ebola disease

Adapted from Gytis Dudas

An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013–2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

Published online April 12, 2017 in the journal Nature, the analysis found that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner.

“We calculated that 3.6 percent of cases traveled, basically meaning that if you were able to focus on those mobile cases and reduce their mobility, you might have had a disproportionate effect on the epidemic,” said computational biologist Dr. Gytis Dudas, a Mahan Postdoctoral Fellow in VIDD at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the paper’s lead author.

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