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Effect of sexual transmission on the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014: a mathematical modelling study

Luo, Dongmei, Zheng, Rongjiong, Wang, Duolao ORCID:, Zhang, Xueliang, Yin, Yi, Wang, Kai and Wang, Weiming (2019) 'Effect of sexual transmission on the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014: a mathematical modelling study'. Scientific Reports, Vol 9, Issue 1.

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The outbreak of the Ebola virus has resulted in significant morbidity and mortality in the affected areas, and Ebola virus RNA has been found in the semen of the survivors after 9 months of symptom onset. However, the role that sexual transmission played in the transmission is not very clear. In this paper, we developed a compartmental model for Ebola virus disease (EVD) dynamics, which includes three different infectious routes: contact with the infectious, contact with dead bodies, and transmission by sexual behaviour with convalescent survivors. We fitted the model to daily cumulative cases from the first reported infected case to October 25, 2014 for the epidemic in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The basic reproduction numbers in these countries were estimated as 1.6726 (95%CI:1.5922-1.7573), 1.8162 (95%CI:1.7660-1.8329) and 1.4873 (95%CI:1.4770-1.4990), respectively. We calculated the contribution of sexual transmission to the basic reproduction number R0 as 0.1155 (6.9%), 0.0236 (2.8%) and 0.0546 (3.7%) in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, respectively. Sensitivity analysis shows that the transmission rates caused by contacts with alive patients and sexual activities with convalescent patients have stronger impacts on the R0. These results suggest that isolating the infectious individuals and advising the recovery men to avoid sexual intercourse are efficient ways for the eradication of endemic EVD.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WA Public Health > Preventive Medicine > WA 110 Prevention and control of communicable diseases. Transmission of infectious diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > Sexually Transmitted Diseases > WC 140 Sexually transmitted diseases
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > General Virus Diseases > WC 500 Virus diseases (General or not elsewhere classified)
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. Other Virus Diseases > WC 534 Viral hemorrhagic fevers
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2019 11:40
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2019 15:27


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