Ebola spillover risk

Andrew and lab alum Laura were involved in a recent study demonstrating the spatio-temporal risk of Ebola spillover in Africa. Using historical spillover data, the research (published in Emerging Infectious Diseases with lead author JP Schmidt of the Odum School of Ecology) shows that much of Central Africa (an historic hotspot) exhibits year round risk, while Southern, Eastern and Western regions of Africa show seasonal risk pulses often associated with transitions between wet and dry seasons. Until the recent 2014 outbreak in West Africa (the worst in history), that area was not considered to be a likely location for Ebola spillover. However, much of Africa, including West Africa, has the right blend of animal and human populations, as well as the climate conditions associated with former outbreaks, at certain times of year.