Temporal and spatial analysis of the 2014-2015 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa [letter]

Miles W Carroll, David A Matthews, Julian A Hiscox, Michael J Elmore, Georgios Pollakis, Andrew Rambaut, Roger Hewson, Isabel García-Dorival, Joseph Akoi Bore, Raymond Koundouno, Saïd Abdellati, Babak Afrough, John Aiyepada, Patience Akhilomen, Danny Asogun, Barry Atkinson, Marlis Badusche, Amadou Bah, Simon Bate, Jan BaumannDirk Becker, Beate Becker-Ziaja, Anne Bocquin, Benny Borremans, Andrew Bosworth, Jan Peter Boettcher, Angela Cannas, Fabrizio Carletti, Concetta Castilletti, Simon Clark, Francesca Colavita, Sandra Diederich, Adomeh Donatus, Sophie Duraffour, Deborah Ehichioya, Heinz Ellerbrok, Maria Dolores Fernandez-Garcia, Alexandra Fizet, Erna Fleischmann, Sophie Gryseels, Antje Hermelink, Julia Hinzmann, Ute Hopf-Guevara, Yemisi Ighodalo, Lisa Jameson, Anne Kelterbaum, Zoltan Kis, Stefan Kloth, Claudia Kohl, Miša Korva, Annette Kraus, Eeva Kuisma, Andreas Kurth, Britta Liedigk, Christopher H Logue, Anja Lüdtke, Piet Maes, James McCowen, Stéphane Mély, Marc Mertens, Silvia Meschi, Benjamin Meyer, Janine Michel, Peter Molkenthin, César Muñoz-Fontela, Doreen Muth, Edmund N C Newman, Didier Ngabo, Lisa Oestereich, Jennifer Okosun, Thomas Olokor, Racheal Omiunu, Emmanuel Omomoh, Elisa Pallasch, Bernadett Pályi, Jasmine Portmann, Thomas Pottage, Catherine Pratt, Simone Priesnitz, Serena Quartu, Julie Rappe, Johanna Repits, Martin Richter, Martin Rudolf, Andreas Sachse, Kristina Maria Schmidt, Gordian Schudt, Thomas Strecker, Ruth Thom, Stephen Thomas, Ekaete Tobin, Howard Tolley, Jochen Trautner, Tine Vermoesen, Inês Vitoriano, Matthias Wagner, Svenja Wolff, Constanze Yue, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Birte Kretschmer, Yper Hall, John G Kenny, Natasha Y Rickett, Gytis Dudas, Cordelia E M Coltart, Romy Kerber, Damien Steer, Callum Wright, Francis Senyah, Sakoba Keita, Patrick Drury, Boubacar Diallo, Hilde de Clerck, Michel Van Herp, Armand Sprecher, Alexis Traore, Mandiou Diakite, Mandy Kader Konde, Lamine Koivogui, N'Faly Magassouba, Tatjana Avšič-Županc, Andreas Nitsche, Marc Strasser, Giuseppe Ippolito, Stephan Becker, Kilian Stoecker, Martin Gabriel, Hervé Raoul, Antonino Di Caro, Roman Wölfel, Pierre Formenty, Stephan Günther

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


    West Africa is currently witnessing the most extensive Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreak so far recorded. Until now, there have been 27,013 reported cases and 11,134 deaths. The origin of the virus is thought to have been a zoonotic transmission from a bat to a two-year-old boy in December 2013 (ref. 2). From this index case the virus was spread by human-to-human contact throughout Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. However, the origin of the particular virus in each country and time of transmission is not known and currently relies on epidemiological analysis, which may be unreliable owing to the difficulties of obtaining patient information. Here we trace the genetic evolution of EBOV in the current outbreak that has resulted in multiple lineages. Deep sequencing of 179 patient samples processed by the European Mobile Laboratory, the first diagnostics unit to be deployed to the epicentre of the outbreak in Guinea, reveals an epidemiological and evolutionary history of the epidemic from March 2014 to January 2015. Analysis of EBOV genome evolution has also benefited from a similar sequencing effort of patient samples from Sierra Leone. Our results confirm that the EBOV from Guinea moved into Sierra Leone, most likely in April or early May. The viruses of the Guinea/Sierra Leone lineage mixed around June/July 2014. Viral sequences covering August, September and October 2014 indicate that this lineage evolved independently within Guinea. These data can be used in conjunction with epidemiological information to test retrospectively the effectiveness of control measures, and provides an unprecedented window into the evolution of an ongoing viral haemorrhagic fever outbreak.

    Original languageEnglish
    Issue number7563
    Pages (from-to)97-101
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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