Testing Modeling Assumptions in the West Africa Ebola Outbreak

Scientific Reports (accepted Sep 15, 2016)

11 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016

See all articles by Keith Burghardt

Keith Burghardt

University of Maryland

CJO Verzijl

ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Junming Huang

Northeastern University - Network Science Institute; University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)

Matthew C. Ingram

SUNY University at Albany

Binyang Song

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD)

Marie-Pierre Hasne

Oregon Health and Science University

Date Written: June 23, 2016

Abstract

The Ebola virus in West Africa has infected almost 30,000 and killed over 11,000 people. Recent models of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) have often made assumptions about how the disease spreads, such as uniform transmissibility and homogeneous mixing within a population. In this paper, we test whether these assumptions are necessarily correct, and offer simple solutions that may improve disease model accuracy. First, we use data and models of West African migration to show that EVD does not homogeneously mix, but spreads in a much more predictable manner. Next, we estimate the initial growth rate of EVD within country administrative divisions and find that it significantly decreases with population density. Finally, we test whether EVD strains have uniform transmissibility through a novel statistical test, and find that certain strains appear more often than expected by chance.

Keywords: Ebola, West Africa, migration, spatial, modeling

JEL Classification: C21, C52, I19, J69

Suggested Citation

Burghardt, Keith and Verzijl, CJO and Huang, Junming and Ingram, Matthew C. and Song, Binyang and Hasne, Marie-Pierre, Testing Modeling Assumptions in the West Africa Ebola Outbreak (June 23, 2016). Scientific Reports (accepted Sep 15, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2840950

Keith Burghardt (Contact Author)

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

CJO Verzijl

ABN AMRO Bank N.V. ( email )

Gustav Mahlerlaan 10 (HQ1046)
Amsterdam, 1082 PP
Netherlands

Junming Huang

Northeastern University - Network Science Institute

177 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States

University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC)

No.4, Section 2, North Jianshe Road
Chengdu, Chengdu
China

Matthew C. Ingram

SUNY University at Albany ( email )

135 Western Ave
Milne Hall 314-A
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Binyang Song

Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) ( email )

20 Dover Drive
Singapore, 138682
Singapore

Marie-Pierre Hasne

Oregon Health and Science University ( email )

3181 S.W. Sam Jackson Park Rd.
Portland, OR 97201
United States

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