The vast majority of the Ebola patients in the most recent outbreak in West Africa were exposed to the deadly virus by contact with infected family members, according to a study led by researchers at the Georgia State University School of Public Health.
The research, being published by Oxford University Press in a report titled “Characterizing Ebola Transmission Patterns Based on Internet News Reports,” also found that hospitals and funerals, respectively, provided the second and third most common routes of Ebola transmission between January 2014 and February 2015.
Ms. J.C. Cleaton, an MPH student in epidemiology at Georgia State, was the lead author of the paper, which analyzed dozens of online news reports from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia—the hardest hit countries. Their data indicated that exposure to bodies at funerals was the most dominant route of transmission early in the outbreak but was replaced by exposures in hospitals a few months later. Both routes, however, declined significantly after interventions were put in place, the study stated.
Dr. Gerardo Chowell, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Georgia State’s School of Public Health who has previously tracked Ebola transmission dynamics, was the corresponding author of the study.
The other authors were Dr. Cecile Viboud with the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Lone Simonsen with the University of Copenhagen and the Milken Institute School of Public Health at Georgia Washington University, and Dr. Ana Hurtado with Arizona State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
To read the study, go to: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/09/03/cid.civ748.full.pdf+html