Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic

Gytis Dudas, Luiz Max Carvalho, Trevor Bedford, Andrew J. Tatem, Guy Baele, Nuno Rodrigues Faria, Daniel J. Park, Jason T. Ladner, Armando Arias, Danny Asogun, Filip Bielejec, Sarah L. Caddy, Matthew Cotten, Jonathan D'Ambrozio, Simon Dellicour, Antonino Di Caro, Joseph W Diclaro II, Sophie Duraffour, Michael J Elmore, Lawrence S FakoliOusmane Faye, Merle L. Gilbert, Sahr M. Gevao, Stephen K. Gire, Adrianne Gladden-Young, Andreas Gnirke, Augustine Goba, Donald S. Grant, Bart L. Haagmans, Julian A Hiscox, Umaru Jah, Jeffrey R. Kugelman, Di Liu, Jia Lu, Christine M. Malboeuf, Suzanne Mate, David A. Matthews, Christian B. Matranga, Luke W Meredith, James Qu, Joshua Quick, Suzan D. Pas, My V. T. Phan, Georgios Pollakis, Chantal B. Reusken, Mariano Sanchez-Lockhart, Stephen F. Schaffner, John S. Schieffelin, Rachel S. Sealfon, Etienne Simon-Loriere, Saska L. Smits, Kilian Stoecker, Lucy Thorne, Ekaete Alice Tobin, Mohamed A. Vandi, Simon J. Watson, Kendra West, Shannon L.M. Whitmer, Michael R. Wiley, Sarah M. Winnicki, Shirlee Wohl, Roman Wölfel, Nathan L. Yozwiak, Kristian G. Andersen, Sylvia O. Blyden, Fatorma K. Bolay, Miles W Carroll, Bernice Dahn, Boubacar Diallo, Pierre Formenty, Christophe Fraser, George F. Gao, Robert F Garry, Ian Goodfellow, Stephan Günther, Christian Happi, Edward C. Holmes, Brima Kargbo, Sakoba Keïta, Paul Kellam, Marion P G Koopmans, Jens H. Kuhn, Nicholas Loman, N’Faly Magassouba, Dhamari Naidoo, Stuart T. Nichol, Tolbert Nyenswah, Gustavo F. Palacios, Oliver G. Pybus, Paradis C Sabeti, Amadou A. Sall, Ute Ströher, Isatta Wurie, Marc A. Suchard, Philippe Lemey, Andrew Rambaut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The 2013–2016 epidemic of Ebola virus disease was of unprecedented magnitude, duration and impact. Analysing 1610 Ebola virus genomes, representing over 5% of known cases, we reconstruct the dispersal, proliferation and decline of Ebola virus throughout the region. We test the association of geography, climate and demography with viral movement among administrative regions, inferring a classic ‘gravity’ model, with intense dispersal between larger and closer populations. Despite attenuation of international dispersal after border closures, cross-border transmission had already set the seeds for an international epidemic, rendering these measures ineffective in curbing the epidemic. We address why the epidemic did not spread into neighbouring countries, showing they were susceptible to significant outbreaks but at lower risk of introductions. Finally, we reveal this large epidemic to be a heterogeneous and spatially dissociated collection of transmission clusters of varying size, duration and connectivity. These insights will help inform interventions in future epidemics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309–315
Number of pages7
JournalNature
Volume544
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2017

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