There is a certain amount of false information regarding how infectious the Ebola virus is, see, for example, some of the statements by certain Congressman. Mathematical epidemiologists use something called “R naught”,​ the basic reproductive number, to quantify how many new cases arise, on average, from a given case.  These can be thought of as new cases caused by infection between a sick individual and those who have had contact with that sick person.

The World Health Organization recently completed a study that found R naught to be around 1.7 (e.g. so a case on average gives rise to about 1.7 other cases).  The challenge for infection control is to get R naught below the replacement rate, less than 1.0.  In contrast, R naught for the flu is greater than 10.  The Ebola virus is about 10 times less infectious than the flu.

The analysis is here:


Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa — The First 9 Months of the Epidemic and Forward Projections
— NEJM