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Region Level Indicators for the Ebola Virus in West Africa

The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) poses a significant threat to the human race. The resurgence of this highly infectious disease in 2014 produced over four times as many deaths as all previous outbreaks combined. Even more concerning, the threat is no longer isolated in Africa because modern travel has connected the world in ways that allow the deadly disease to jump across continents in a single flight. I have obtained data related to the outbreak in the three countries most affected by the recent outbreak of EVD: Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.

The data was was collected at the region level and include percent of population living in an urban area, density, average level of education and many more. These variables will be related to the total confirmed cases of ebola in each region using statistical modeling techniques.

This work is in collaboration with Dr. Agricola Odoi of the University of Tennessee. We initially tried using a poisson model before finding evidence of overdispersion in the data. As a result, we switched to a negative binomial framework to analyze the relationship. The full write up was published in PeerJ. This work will contribute to the ongoing effort to better understand and prevent future outbreaks of this deadly disease.

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