The authors were interested in the dispersal, proliferation and decline of Ebolavirus in West Africa. They analysed 1610 Ebolavirus genomes, representing over 5% of known cases. The specifically looked at the association of geography, climate and demography with viral movement among administrative regions, using a classic ‘gravity’ model, with intense dispersal between larger and closer populations. While international dispersal was attenuated following border closures, cross-border transmission had already sown the seeds for an international epidemic, rendering these measures ineffective at curbing the epidemic. The authors also found that neighbouring countries were susceptible to substantial outbreaks but at lower risk of introductions. The large epidemic was a heterogeneous and spatially dissociated collection of transmission clusters of varying size, duration and connectivity and therefore this information will hopefully inform interventions in future epidemics.
Read more here