PRINT ISSN 1222-5304, ISSN-L: 2065-1295, ISSN CD: 2343-9394,ISSN ONLINE 2067-3663
 

RISK OF EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE SPREAD OUTSIDE OF AFRICA: REVIEW OF NATURAL RESERVOIR AND TRANSMISSION

Published in Scientific Works. Series C. Veterinary Medicine, Vol. LXI
Written by Nicoleta Cristina HRISTEA, Stelian BARAITAREANU

The Ebola virus is one of the most virulent pathogen of humans. Until 2014 there have been reported 35 outbreaks, of which 25 in Africa, three in Asia (Philippines), three in America (USA) and four in Europe (Russia, UK, and Italy). Several outbreaks affected multiple countries. The most non-African human cases were accidentally produced in laboratories (researchers) and hospitals (medical staff). The largest outbreak of Ebola is still ongoing across West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone). Sporadic cases of illness and deaths have been reported outside of West Africa, in USA, Spain, UK, Nigeria, Senegal, and Mali. During February, 2014 - January 5, 2015were recorded 20,691cases of human illness and 8,168deaths (data are constantly evolving). The paper aims to present the epidemiologic characteristics of Ebola outbreaks that occurred from 1976 to 2014, in order to identify the source of infection and the route of transmission. The major source of Ebola virus infection identified in outbreaks with human casualties was the close unprotected physical contact with casualties. Another important source of human infection was wildlife. The natural reservoirs of Ebola virus are considered fruit bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti,Myonycte ristorquata, Rousettus aegyptiacus) that spread the virus through urine and saliva. In two major human outbreaks with several casualties, (Zaire virus; Gabon; 1996-1997) the first sources of infection were chimpanzees. In seven outbreaks with asymptomatic human infections (Reston virus; Philippines, USA, Italy, 1989- 2008) were involved apes and pigs, but the source of animal infection weren’t identified. As a conclusion, the risk of Ebola virus disease spread outside of Africa is mainly associated with the international travel and the trade of live exotic animals. Ebola isn’t an airborne disease, but direct exposure (percutaneous or mucous membrane) of people to infected blood or body fluids leads to the rapid transmission of the virus.

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