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What is Ebola Virus?

Ebola virus (EBOV) causes an extremely severe disease in humans and in nonhuman primates in the form of viral hemorrhagic fever. EBOV is a select agentWorld Health Organization Risk Group 4 Pathogen (requiring Biosafety Level 4-equivalent containment), National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Category A Priority Pathogen, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A Bioterrorism Agent, and listed as a Biological Agent for Export Control by the Australia Group.

History of Ebola Virus

Ebola virus (abbreviated EBOV) was first described in 1976 by David Finkes. Today, the virus is the single member of the species Zaire ebolavirus, which is included into the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales.

The name Ebola virus is derived from the Ebola River (a river that was at first thought to be in close proximity to the area in Democratic Republic of Congo, previously called Zaire, where the first recorded Ebola virus disease outbreak occurred) and the taxonomic suffix virus.

According to the rules for taxon naming established by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), the name Ebola virus is always to be capitalized, but is never italicized, and may be abbreviated (with EBOV being the official abbreviation).

Ebola Virus was first introduced as a possible new strain of Marburg virus in 1977 by two different research teams. At the same time, a third team introduced the name Ebola Virus.

In 2000, the virus name was changed to Zaire Ebola Virus, and in 2005 to Zaire Ebolavirus. However, most scientific articles continued to refer to Ebola Virus or used the terms Ebola Virus and Zaire Ebolavirus in parallel.

Consequently, in 2010, the name Ebola Virus was reinstated. Previous abbreviations for the virus were EBOV-Z (for Ebola virus Zaire) and most recently ZEBOV (for Zaire Ebola Virus or Zaire Ebolavirus). In 2010, EBOV was reinstated as the abbreviation for the virus.

EBOV is one of four ebolaviruses that causes Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in humans referred to as Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF).

In February 2014, a strain of the Ebola Virus appeared in Guinea. This is the first Ebola Virus outbreak registered in the region.

As of March 31, 122 suspected and confirmed cases and 78 deaths have been reported in Guinea, 12 suspected cases in Liberia including 10 deaths, as well as 6 suspected cases in Sierra Leone including 5 deaths. Investigations on these are under way.

See Also

» Avian Flu
» Dengue Fever
» Ebola Virus
» Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
» Swine Flu
» Zika Fever

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