New EBOV outbreak in DRC

The WHO has provided details the causitive virus of new outbreak of ebolavirus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The analysis, performed by the WHO collaborating centre in Gabon, shows that the new virus is EBOV which is the same ebolavirus species as that causing the current large outbreak in West Africa. However, genetic analysis shows that this is phylogenetically distinct and the result of an independent zoonosis:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ebola/2-september-2014/en/

Although the announcement doesn't mention what genetic data is used (most likely the diagnostic region of the L gene) it does say that the new outbreak is 99% similar (and most similar) to viruses that caused an outbreak in Kikwit in DRC in 1995. If that is the case then the phylogenetic tree would most likely look something like this:

A tree of EBOV gp gene regions from 1976 to 2014. The branch labelled 'EBOV DRC 2014' marks the suggested phylogenetic position of the new EBOV outbreak in the Boende region of DRC.

What is interesting is that not only is this not closely related to the West African lineage but it is decended from a lineage that have not been seen to cause human cases for decades. This further reveals that that the viruses we have observed in human and primate cases is small sample of the diversity of the virus in the primary animal reservoir.

However, this phylogenetic position is based on a verbal description in a report so should be treated cautiously.

 

 

Share: