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The potential impact of a prophylactic vaccine for Ebola in Sierra Leone

. Rhodes College, Department of Mathematics & Computer Science, 2000 N. Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112, USA

The 2014 outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa was multinational and of an unprecedented scale primarily affecting the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. One of the qualities that makes EVD of high public concern is its potential for extremely high mortality rates (up to 90%). A prophylactic vaccine for ebolavirus (rVSV-ZEBOV) has been developed, and clinical trials show near-perfect efficacy. We have developed an ordinary differential equations model that simulates an EVD epidemic and takes into account (1) transmission through contact with infectious EVD individuals and deceased EVD bodies, (2) the heterogeneity of the risk of becoming infected with EVD, and (3) the increased survival rate of infected EVD patients due to greater access to trained healthcare providers. Using fitted parameter values that closely simulate the dynamics of the 2014 outbreak in Sierra Leone, we utilize our model to predict the potential impact of a prophylactic vaccine for the ebolavirus using various vaccination strategies including ring vaccination. Our results show that an rVSV-ZEBOV vaccination coverage as low as 40% in the general population and 95% in healthcare workers will prevent another catastrophic outbreak like the 2014 outbreak from occurring.

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