Scientists map the spread of Ebola in West Africa
With genome sequencing, the researchers learned that Ebola was transmitted from nearby nations to Liberia several different times at the beginning of the Ebola outbreak. Most of the time, the Liberian cases emerged because the virus was transmitted to an individual.
The study results show the virus spread quickly throughout Liberia and Western Africa. This spread enabled the virus, which was first detected in 1976, to refuel before it continued on to Guinea.
"Genome sequencing has played an important role in identifying and confirming chains of transmission throughout this outbreak, in the absence of good epidemiological data,” Gustavo Palacios, senior study author from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, said. “However, relatively few sequences have been determined from patients in Liberia, even though this country had the highest number of Ebola-related deaths. By providing a detailed view into the ongoing spread and diversification of the Ebola virus, this study supports ongoing surveillance and isolation efforts and provides critical information for developing effective control strategies."