Fighting the Ebola virus : an exercise in risk analysis and optimal decision making

John Houston, Madhusudan Acharyya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Ebola is a deadly epidemic and has already cost the lives of at least 10,000 people in West Africa. A vaccine has yet to be discovered and the focus remains on containing the spread of the virus. Although its spread has come under control in recent months, the actions of international agencies has been criticized. In this study, we present a choice-problem, associated with the handling of Ebola by Health Policymakers. We combine actual demographic data with realistic cost data for a limited range of interventions intended to slow transmission of the disease, into a quantitative model. The model facilitates trials of many combinations of interventions, in an effort to minimise the further spread of Ebola. The model can be used both as a teaching tool, as well as a prototype decision-making tool for the agencies involved in fighting such outbreaks, with limited budgets.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Risk Analysis
EditorsMontserrat Guillen, Angel A Juan, Helena Ranmalhinho, Isabel Serra, Carles Serrat
PublisherFundación MAPFRE
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-84-9844-496-4
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2015


  • risk Analysis
  • statistical analysis
  • Ebola


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