Latent infection: Ebola outbreak caused by reactivated virus

How this happens, however, is quite a mystery. The causative agent of Ebola is an RNA virus that lacks the molecular machinery for translation into DNA – which would be needed for integration into the genome. Without it, it is inconceivable how the RNA virus can survive in the body for several years. So Keita and his team speculate: The virus continues to multiply in the body, very, very slowly.

A role in this can be played by the so-called immune-privileged tissues, in which inflammatory reactions are suppressed so as not to damage important organs. In fact, status reports show If the Ebola infection reappears, inflammation of the brain or eyes may occur.

So far, it’s not entirely clear how often the Ebola virus persists in the body for so long, making it contagious again — and whether this has anything to do with the long-term consequences of infection, which occur in many infected people. However, the results show that the virus persists in the body and can lead to new outbreaks even years later, Keita’s team wrote. This suggests that a paradigm shift is necessary when looking at such outbreaks. In fact, there is also another Ebola outbreak in 2021, In May in the Democratic Republic of the CongoStrong evidence of virus reactivation from a previous outbreak.

As a result of this finding, long-term medical care for Ebola patients must be prioritized, writes Robert F. In addition, more research is needed on how to prevent the virus from returning, he continues.

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