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Liberia’s Ebola outbreak largely traced to one source

Genetic analysis of third hard-hit country fills in gaps in virus’ spread and evolution

12:00pm, December 9, 2015
Ebola outbreak network map

BRANCHING OUT  In Liberia, a single lineage of Ebola virus (middle dot) split into subgroups as it passed from person to person and mutated. Each dot is a slightly different version of the virus within the subgroups. Dot size indicates how many people carried that version. Researchers tracked the virus as it spread from Liberia (blue) into Guinea (red) and Mali (yellow).

A single introduction of the Ebola virus led to most cases of the deadly disease in Liberia, a new genetic study suggests.

Researchers examined 165 Ebola genomes, most collected during the second wave of infection that started in late May 2014 in the West African country. The analysis, reported online December 9 in Cell Host & Microbe, adds missing information about how the virus spread in Liberia. Previously, researchers had genetically tracked Ebola in Sierra Leone (SN: 3/7/15, p. 12; SN: 9/20/14, p. 7) and Guinea.

Tracing the genetic lineages of Ebola and other viruses may help researchers better understand and control such outbreaks, says evolutionary

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