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New Ebola species identified in Sierra Leone



Sierra Leone's Ministry of Health said yesterday that a new species of Ebola virus was discovered in bats in the north of the country, which would increase the number of known species to six and would be the first new in more than a decade.

The new virus is called Bombali for the district in which it was found, and a Ministry of Health official said it was not known if the virus could be transmitted to humans, although laboratory tests suggest that it is potentially human Cells Invade Press (AFP) reported yesterday

Virus found in 5 out of 241 bats

According to a health statement from Sierra Leone Telegraph a newspaper stationed in Sierra Leone, the virus was found to be Part of the PREDICT Ebola Host Research Project, funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The virus was found in 5 of 241

insect-eating bats and differs from all previously known Ebola viruses.

Peter Daszak, PhD, President of the EcoHealth Alliance, which leads the PREDICT project, told Stat that the virus was found in Angolan outdoor bats, and although scientists were unable to isolate live virus from the samples, they identified enough viral RNA fragments to sequence an almost complete genome.

He said that a scientific paper describing the virus has been prepared and is still under embargo. He added that the government of Sierra Leone wanted to announce to the local press that it was spreading rumors and launching a publicity campaign, Stat.

The government statement said studies are underway to assess whether the virus can cause disease. Government officials and their research partners are engaging with local communities to share what is known about the new virus and how to safely live with bats ,

First New Ebola Virus since 2007

The last new species, Bundibugyo, was first identified in 2007 in Uganda as part of an outbreak investigation. The Ebola-Zaire species was the cause of the outbreak in West Africa, which caused some 28,600 deaths, of which about 11,300 were fatalities, and a recent burst in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Of the five previously known Ebola species, three have triggered outbreaks in Africa: Zaire, Bundibugyo and Sudan. Tai Forest (formerly Cote d'Ivoire) was identified only in a human case. The Ebola Reston species, which occurs only in the Philippines, can cause asymptomatic infections in humans, but is fatal to non-human primates and can weaken pigs.

See also:

26. July AFP story [19659002] July 27 Announcement of the Government of Sierra Leone

27. July Stat. History

CDC Ebola Background


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