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Ebola Outbreak Killed 5000 Gorillas

Science  08 Dec 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5805, pp. 1564
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133105

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Abstract

Over the past decade, the Zaire strain of Ebola virus (ZEBOV) has repeatedly emerged in Gabon and Congo. Each human outbreak has been accompanied by reports of gorilla and chimpanzee carcasses in neighboring forests, but both the extent of ape mortality and the causal role of ZEBOV have been hotly debated. Here, we present data suggesting that in 2002 and 2003 ZEBOV killed about 5000 gorillas in our study area. The lag between neighboring gorilla groups in mortality onset was close to the ZEBOV disease cycle length, evidence that group-to-group transmission has amplified gorilla die-offs.

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