Unreported cases in the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic: Spatiotemporal variation, and implications for estimating transmission

In the recent 2014–2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, non-hospitalized cases were an important component of the chain of transmission. However, non-hospitalized cases are at increased risk of going unreported because of barriers to access to healthcare. Furthermore, underreporting rates may fluctuate over space and time, biasing estimates of disease transmission rates, which are important for understanding spread and planning control measures. We performed a retrospective analysis on community deaths during the recent Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone to estimate the number of unreported non-hospitalized cases, and to quantify how Ebola reporting rates varied across locations and over time.

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