Disease 'superspreaders' accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds

Scientists report that superspreaders accounted for a majority of the Ebola virus cases in the 2014–15 epidemic in West Africa.

Scientists report that superspreaders accounted for a majority of the Ebola virus cases in the 2014–15 epidemic in West Africa. Researchers from Princeton University and Oregon State University conducted a retrospective analysis of the timing and location of 200 community burials between October 2014 and March 2015 in the urban areas around Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown. They used a mathematical model to reconstruct the transmission network. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that an estimated 3% of the people infected were ultimately responsible for infecting about 61% of the cases. The researchers noted that, based on the evidence of disease transmission, the pattern of having a small number of individuals responsible for the majority of the infections also holds true in Guinea and Liberia.