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Multiple Ebola Virus Transmission Events and Rapid Decline of Central African Wildlife

Science  16 Jan 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5656, pp. 387-390
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092528

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Abstract

Several human and animal Ebola outbreaks have occurred over the past 4 years in Gabon and the Republic of Congo. The human outbreaks consisted of multiple simultaneous epidemics caused by different viral strains, and each epidemic resulted from the handling of a distinct gorilla, chimpanzee, or duiker carcass. These animal populations declined markedly during human Ebola outbreaks, apparently as a result of Ebola infection. Recovered carcasses were infected by a variety of Ebola strains, suggesting that Ebola outbreaks in great apes result from multiple virus introductions from the natural host. Surveillance of animal mortality may help to predict and prevent human Ebola outbreaks.

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