Spread of Ebola virus disease based on the density of roads in West Africa

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Diana Gomez-Barroso *
Emilia Velasco
Carmen Varela
Inmaculada Leon
Rosa Cano
(*) Corresponding Author:
Diana Gomez-Barroso | dgomez@externos.isciii.es


On March 23rd 2014 the World Health Organization announced that a new Ebola outbreak had appeared in West Africa involving three countries. The objective of this study was to show how a road density index (RDI) could be constructed and a study of its association with Ebola cases during the outbreak. The study was carried out at the district level across the affected countries. RDI was calculated by km2 of territory as a proxy for the mobility of the population. To calculate this index, the number of km of road constructed in each district was estimated and subsequently divided by the area of each district expressed in km2. The accumulated incidence of Ebola was calculated per district. A generalised linear model with a Poisson distribution was used. The RDI varied from 0.12 to 0.84 between the districts. An RDI increase of 0.01 indicates a 3% increase in Ebola infection risk (RR is 1.03; CI 1.03-1.04). The density of the road network can influence the increased incidence of Ebola cases in the affected zone. An exhaustive mapping of the area could help the relevant organisations to manage another outbreak in the future and it could help the distribution of resources in an emergency situation.

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