2014 Ebola Outbreak: Media Events Track Changes in Observed Reproductive Number

ICYMI, my HealthMap colleagues and I recently had an article published in PLOS Currents Outbreaks! The title says it all – and in my (slightly biased) opinion, it’s a really cool piece of work. You can find the full article here, but I’ve also quoted the abstract below as a little teaser:

In this commentary, we consider the relationship between early outbreak changes in the observed reproductive number of Ebola in West Africa and various media reported interventions and aggravating events. We find that media reports of interventions that provided education, minimized contact, or strengthened healthcare were typically followed by sustained transmission reductions in both Sierra Leone and Liberia. Meanwhile, media reports of aggravating events generally preceded temporary transmission increases in both countries. Given these preliminary findings, we conclude that media reported events could potentially be incorporated into future epidemic modeling efforts to improve mid-outbreak case projections.

One of my favorite aspects of this particular project was figuring out how to visualize our findings in a catchy, comprehensive way. As many of you know, building charts is one of my (many) nerdy hobbies – so I really, really loved creating one for this paper. I’ve included a high-resolution version below (just click through). Feel free to use; all we ask is to please give credit where credit is due!

new_plot

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