HealthDay News — There is evidence for persistence of Ebola virus and transmission from a persistently infected individual, according to case study published online July 23 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

After a 15-year-old boy tested positive for Ebola virus infection in Monrovia in November 2015, Emily Kainne Dokubo, MD, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues explored a potential linkage between Ebola virus isolated from cases in November 2015 and cluster and epidemiologically linked cases from the 2014 to 2015 west African outbreak. 

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The researchers investigated the cluster, which comprised the family of the index case (mother, father, three siblings). Phylogenetic relation within the LB5 sublineage that circulated in Liberia starting around August 2014 was seen for Ebola virus genomes assembled from 2 cases in the November 2015 cluster and an epidemiologically linked Ebola virus disease case in July 2014. Infection with a lineage of the virus from a former transmission chain in the country was indicated in analysis of sequencing data. The most plausible scenario was that a female case in the November 2015 cluster survived Ebola virus disease in 2014, and had viral persistence or recurrent disease, transmitting the virus to three family members in November 2015.

“These findings underscore the need for focused prevention efforts among survivors and sustained capacity to rapidly detect and respond to new Ebola virus disease cases to prevent recurrence of a widespread outbreak,” the authors write.

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