Mathematical modeling of the West Africa Ebola epidemic

  1. Jean-Paul Chretien  Is a corresponding author
  2. Steven Riley
  3. Dylan B George
  1. Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, United States
  2. Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  3. United States Department of Health and Human Services, United States


As of November 2015, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic that began in West Africa in late 2013 is waning. The human toll includes more than 28,000 Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases and 11,000 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the most heavily-affected countries. We reviewed 66 mathematical modeling studies of the EVD epidemic published in the peer-reviewed literature to assess the key uncertainties models addressed, data used for modeling, public sharing of data and results, and model performance. Based on the review, we suggest steps to improve the use of modeling in future public health emergencies.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jean-Paul Chretien

    Division of Integrated Biosurveillance, Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, Silver Spring, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Steven Riley

    MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Dylan B George

    Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Mark Jit, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Public Health England, United Kingdom

Publication history

  1. Received: June 2, 2015
  2. Accepted: November 19, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 8, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: February 16, 2016 (version 2)


© 2015, Chretien et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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  1. Jean-Paul Chretien
  2. Steven Riley
  3. Dylan B George
Mathematical modeling of the West Africa Ebola epidemic
eLife 4:e09186.

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