Reduced evolutionary rate in reemerged Ebola virus transmission chains

David J Blackley, Michael R Wiley, Jason T Ladner, Mosoka Fallah, Terrence Lo, Merle L Gilbert, Christopher Gregory, Jonathan D'ambrozio, Stewart Coulter, Suzanne Mate, Zephaniah Balogun, Jeffrey Kugelman, William Nwachukwu, Karla Prieto, Adolphus Yeiah, Fred Amegashie, Brian Kearney, Meagan Wisniewski, John Saindon, Gary SchrothLawrence Fakoli, Joseph W Diclaro, Jens H Kuhn, Lisa E Hensley, Peter B Jahrling, Ute Ströher, Stuart T Nichol, Moses Massaquoi, Francis Kateh, Peter Clement, Alex Gasasira, Fatorma Bolay, Stephan S Monroe, Andrew Rambaut, Mariano Sanchez-Lockhart, A Scott Laney, Tolbert Nyenswah, Athalia Christie, Gustavo Palacios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

On 29 June 2015, Liberia's respite from Ebola virus disease (EVD) was interrupted for the second time by a renewed outbreak ("flare-up") of seven confirmed cases. We demonstrate that, similar to the March 2015 flare-up associated with sexual transmission, this new flare-up was a reemergence of a Liberian transmission chain originating from a persistently infected source rather than a reintroduction from a reservoir or a neighboring country with active transmission. Although distinct, Ebola virus (EBOV) genomes from both flare-ups exhibit significantly low genetic divergence, indicating a reduced rate of EBOV evolution during persistent infection. Using this rate of change as a signature, we identified two additional EVD clusters that possibly arose from persistently infected sources. These findings highlight the risk of EVD flare-ups even after an outbreak is declared over.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1600378
JournalScience Advances
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2016


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