Ebola Virus



The following text was submitted by a visitor.  It was written by the visitor, we only posted it here because we thought you may find it interesting....


As a physician-scientist who recently returned from Central Africa, where I was involved in seroepidemiologic studies aimed at determining patterns of exposure to Ebola hemorrhagic fever in and around Makokou, Ogooue-Ivindo province, northeastern Gabon, I am writing to request your
assistance in the interpretation of the following data.

Ebola virus has been identified as the causative agent of at least seven large human and six significant primate outbreaks since its discovery in 1976. Four of the human and all of the primate outbreaks have occurred since 1989, and an additional human infection was associated with an outbreak among chimpanzees in Cote d'Ivoire in 1994. These outbreaks have generated a great deal of anecdotal and potentially useful data about Ebola virus but the actual reservoir of the virus has not yet been identified and practically nothing is known about the virus' ecology. The identification of the viral reservoir and the elucidation of natural patterns of wild viral transmission would permit public health authorities in the nations of Central and West Africa to educate populations at risk and thereby minimize the risk of further human epidemics. Scientists, physicians, and epidemiologists from the CDC, WHO, the Institute Pasteur, the National Institute for Virology, and many other institutions have so far not been able to answer these very important questions about Ebola virus and efforts to identify the reservoir species have amounted to massive animal and insect collections in areas where outbreaks have occurred. In writing this request for information and assistance I am moving beyond the usual circles that consider these issues; my hope is that by virtue of your expertise you might be able to guide us in our own thinking. We are especially interested in the identification of candidate
reservoir species or hypotheses about viral transmission which are consistent with the known data. If possible, please explain the reasoning behind all submitted hypotheses -- remember that what may be plain as day to you might be completely opaque to me.

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