Brief Communication | Published:

Fruit bats as reservoirs of Ebola virus

Nature volume 438, pages 575576 (01 December 2005) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The first recorded human outbreak of Ebola virus was in 1976, but the wild reservoir of this virus is still unknown1. Here we test for Ebola in more than a thousand small vertebrates that were collected during Ebola outbreaks in humans and great apes between 2001 and 2003 in Gabon and the Republic of the Congo. We find evidence of asymptomatic infection by Ebola virus in three species of fruit bat, indicating that these animals may be acting as a reservoir for this deadly virus.

Bat species eaten by people in central Africa show evidence of symptomless Ebola infection.

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Affiliations

  1. *Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, BP 769 Franceville, Gabon

    • Eric M. Leroy
    • , Brice Kumulungui
    • , Xavier Pourrut
    • , Pierre Rouquet
    • , Philippe Yaba
    •  & André Délicat
  2. †Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 5202, Paris 75005, France

    • Alexandre Hassanin
  3. ‡National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Special Pathogens Unit, Private Bag X4, Sandringham 2131, South Africa

    • Janusz T. Paweska
    •  & Robert Swanepoel
  4. §Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, UR178, Mahidol University at Salaya, Nakhonpathom 73170, Thailand

    • Jean-Paul Gonzalez
  5. §Institut de Recherches pour le Développement, UR178, Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, BP 769 Franceville, Gabon

    • Eric M. Leroy
    •  & Xavier Pourrut

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Eric M. Leroy.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/438575a

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