Etiology

The Ebola agent was demonstrated by electron microscopy to consist of long filamentous rods, sometimes branched, often intertwined. The virion contains one molecule of single-stranded RNA and is not of itself infectious.

The infectious virus particle is inactivated by ultraviolet (UV)-irradiation, gamma-ray irradiation, 1 percent formalin, beta-propiolactone, and lipid solvents. The particles closely resemble those of the Marburg agent, but there are some distinguishing characteristics. The Ebola agent, for example, has more branching than the Marburg agent. Oligonucleotide patterns are distinctive. Seven nucleoproteins have been described. Serologically no relationship has been demonstrated, either to Marburg or to Lassa or to any other of a long list of arbo and nonarbo viruses. Another distinguishing characteristic of Ebola-Sudan and Ebola-Zaire is pathogenicity. Both cause excessive mortality, but mortality is lower for the Sudan strain than for the Zaire strain. Cercopithecus monkeys infected with and recovered from Ebola-Sudan virus, and therefore resistant to superinfection by the homologous virus, nonetheless succumbed when inoculated with Ebola-Zaire virus. A new family, Filoviridae, has been created for the agents Marburg and Ebola. As of 1988, no further agents have been proposed.

Swine Influenza

Swine Influenza

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