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Virus comes back to life in a survivor of Ebola


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A new Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea have been sparked by a person infected during the country’s previous epidemic five years ago.

Viral genome sequences revealed that the virus hardly differs from the strain that caused the previous epidemic.

Virus may have lain dormant in someone who caught it in 2016.

“It’s like a relapse," - César Muñoz-Fontela, group leader at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Some of the people who survived could still harbour the virus years later and potentially pass it on to others.

New findings will worsen existing stigmatisation of these people.

In addition to semen, Ebola can also persist in immune-privileged sites such as cerebrospinal fluid or fluid in the eye.

Screening for persistent Ebola infections and vaccinating the contacts could prevent future outbreaks, - N’Faly Magassouba at UGANC.

As of 16 March, there had been 18 cases and 9 deaths in the new outbreak in Guinea.

Ebola survivor harboured the virus for 5 years & transmission could spark new outbreaks

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César Muñoz-Fontela

Head of Research Group at Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine

N’Faly Magassouba

Researcher at Gamal Abdel Nasser University of Conakry