In DepthInfectious Diseases

Ebola virus may lurk in survivors for many years

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Science  19 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6535, pp. 1188
DOI: 10.1126/science.371.6535.1188

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Summary

Virus that lay dormant in a survivor of the devastating Ebola epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016 triggered a new outbreak in Guinea in January, genomic analyses suggest. Sequencing the virus from the Guinea outbreak, which has so far sickened at least 18 people and killed nine, showed it was virtually identical to the strain that ravaged Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia more than 5 years ago. Researchers knew the Ebola virus can linger in the human body and ignite fresh outbreaks for well over a year—but not 5 years. The finding raises tricky questions about how to prevent such outbreaks without further stigmatizing Ebola survivors.

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