University of Oxford Project Aims to Predict Geographic Spread of Ebola


    Tessella provides complex analytics and modelling software expertise on research work.

    24 March 2015 - Tessella, an international analytics, software services and consulting company was chosen by the University of Oxford to deliver analytics and modelling software expertise on a project to predict the geographic spread of Ebola in West Africa.

    Oxford University scientists are developing maps showing where cases of Ebola are likely to be imported as a result of human movements, with the potential to trigger future outbreaks. The project, led by Prof Simon Hay and Dr Nick Golding of the university’s Department of Zoology, builds on methods developed to map the risk of importation of diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. The project will use data on human mobility, population density, and transport infrastructure in West African countries to create maps predicting how the current Ebola outbreak could spread through human populations. Whilst the number of Ebola cases in West Africa has been steadily falling, moving from these low numbers of cases to elimination of the disease will require increased surveillance to prevent undetected cases from starting new outbreaks in areas where the disease has been eliminated. These maps aim to give those on the ground additional information on where to target these surveillance resources.

    The research is being jointly funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Wellcome Trust and is releasing £1.34m to support five projects, run by leading British and international researchers, which will improve evidence and understanding of the Ebola outbreak.

    Tessella has a long history of working with the University of Oxford. Recently Tessella consultants and analytics experts supported the new online platform that aims to advance the field of disease mapping by combining the latest advances in spatial modelling with methods pioneered by HealthMap to capture disease outbreak data from the World Wide Web as it becomes available. The platform provides updated maps of malaria, dengue and polio, and a range of open-access products of direct public health utility. These will include map images, spatial data layers and summary statistics.