Potential impact of sexual transmission of Ebola virus on the epidemic in West Africa

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Jessica L AbbateChristian L Althaus

Abstract

Sexual transmission of Ebola virus disease (EVD) 6 months after onset of symptoms has been recently documented, and Ebola virus RNA has been detected in semen of survivors up to 9 months after onset of symptoms. As countries affected by the 2013-2015 epidemic in West Africa, by far the largest to date, are declared free of Ebola virus disease (EVD), it remains unclear what threat is posed by rare sexual transmission events that could arise from survivors. We devised a novel mathematical model that includes sexual transmission from convalescent survivors: a SEICR (susceptible-exposed-infectious-convalescent-recovered) transmission model. We fitted the model to weekly incidence of EVD cases from the 2014-2015 epidemic in Sierra Leone. Sensitivity analyses and Monte Carlo simulations showed that a 0.1% per sex act transmission probability and a 3-month convalescent period (the two key unknown parameters of sexual transmission) create very few additional cases, but would extend the epidemic by 83 days [95% CI: 68 - 98 days] on average. Strikingly, a 6-month convalescent period extended the average epidemic by 540 days (95% CI: 508 - 572 days), doubling the current length, despite an insignificant rise in the number of new cases gen...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Seminal Fluid
Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola
Ebola virus
Ebolavirus
Community Health Centers
Semen
Disease Transmission
Documented
Simulation
Analysis

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