If there can be any good news – or at least not further disheartening news – coming out of the African continent regarding this year’s Ebola outbreaks, we have one positive report this morning.
The World Health Organization has just confirmed that the newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.
A WHO collaborating research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory. They report today that, “the virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in west Africa.”
The WHO amplified that finding:
“Results from the virus characterization, together with findings from the epidemiological investigation, are definitive: the outbreak in DRC is a distinct and independent event, with no relationship to the outbreak in west Africa.”The finding is worthy of such emphasis because of concerns that the west African outbreak had somehow spread to the DRC, formerly Zaire. The viruses in each outbreak are genetically distinct, but they are both of the Zaire species of Ebola virus, a fact that might be confused as meaning the outbreaks are related.