Estimates Of Ebola-Infected Air Passengers Include Big Assumptions

In a recent piece on the news blog FiveThirtyEight, EPI faculty member Andreas Handel commented on a recent Lancet study by researchers from the University of Toronto which concluded that three Ebola-infected air travelers could be leaving the three affected West African countries each month based its estimate on some big assumptions.

Excerpt from the article:

One assumption the researchers didn’t change in the appendix is that all people in each country have an equal chance of flying — whether or not they have Ebola. “I don’t know how realistic that is,” Andreas Handel, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, said in an email. He pointed out that the ability to fly internationally is likely to be correlated with better sanitation and access to health services. “All of these uncertainties make me very hesitant to attach too much meaning to any specific number,” Handel said.

Read the entire piece at FiveThirtyEight.

Posted October 22, 2014.