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Wide area of Ebola risk in Africa

The region in Africa at risk of an outbreak of the Ebola virus is larger than previously thought.

Simon Hay at the University of Oxford, UK, and his team mapped data from 23 Ebola outbreaks in humans, including the current one, and 51 reports of Ebola in other animals. They combined the data with information on human mobility and the range of animal hosts suspected of carrying the virus, such as Old World fruit bats.

The team found that the potential reservoir for the virus spans 22 countries in western and central Africa, and includes an area containing more than 15 million people, where Ebola cases have already occurred.

This finding, combined with other recent trends such as increasing urbanization, may account for an apparent increase in the frequency and size of outbreaks since 2000.

eLife (2014)

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Wide area of Ebola risk in Africa. Nature 513, 282 (2014).

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