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Just how infectious is Ebola?

The average person stricken with Ebola infects only between 1.5 and two other people, NPR reports. This value, called R0 (R nought), which is used to measure the infectivity of a bacterium or virus, places Ebola fairly low on the spectrum when compared with, say, measles, which infects 18 other people on average. This low infectivity is why public health officials aren’t concerned about the spread of disease in the United States.  Infrastructure and preventative measures should be able to easily isolate and contain cases long before a situation like the one in West Africa develops. Follow the link to check out NPR’s cool graphic and compare Ebola’s R0 value with that of other diseases.

*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.

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