|Group:||Group V ((-)ssRNA)|
The genus Ebolavirus is a virological taxon included in the family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. This genus was introduced in 1998 as the "Ebola-like viruses". In 2002 the name was changed to Ebolavirus and in 2010 the genus was emended.
The name Ebolavirus is derived from the Ebola River in Zaire (where Ebola virus was first discovered) and the taxonomic suffix -virus (denoting a viral genus). The species in this genus are called ebolaviruses. Currently includes five virus species are recognised: Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Reston ebolavirus, Sudan ebolavirus, Taï Forest ebolavirus (originally Côte d'Ivoire ebolavirus) and Zaire ebolavirus.
The ebolaviruses are responsible for hemorrhagic fever.
According to the rules for taxon naming established by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), the name Ebolavirus is always to be capitalized, italicized, never abbreviated, and to be preceded by the word "genus". The names of its members (ebolaviruses) are to be written in lower case, are not italicized, and used without articles.
Genus inclusion criteria
- its genome has several gene overlaps
- its fourth gene (GP) encodes four proteins (sGP, ssGP, Δ-peptide, and GP1,2) using cotranscriptional editing to express ssGP and GP1,2 and proteolytic cleavage to express sGP and Δ-peptide
- peak infectivity of its virions is associated with particles ≈805 nm in length
- its genome differs from that of Marburg virus by ≥50% and from that of Ebola virus by <50% at the nucleotide level
- its virions show almost no antigenic cross reactivity with marburgvirions
The genera Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus were originally classified as the species of the now-obsolete Filovirus genus. In March, 1998, the Vertebrate Virus Subcommittee proposed in the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) to change the Filovirus genus to the Filoviridae family with two specific genera: Ebola-like viruses and Marburg-like viruses. This proposal was implemented in Washington, D.C., as of April, 2001 and in Paris as of July, 2002. In 2000, another proposal was made in Washington, D.C., to change the "-like viruses" to "-virus" resulting in today's Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus.
The five characterised Ebola species are:
- Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV)
- Also known simply as the Zaire virus, ZEBOV has the highest case-fatality rate, up to 90% in some epidemics, with an average case fatality rate of approximately 83% over 27 years. There have been more outbreaks of Zaire ebolavirus than of any other species. The first outbreak took place on 26 August 1976 in Yambuku. Mabalo Lokela, a 44‑year-old schoolteacher, became the first recorded case. The symptoms resembled malaria, and subsequent patients received quinine. Transmission has been attributed to reuse of unsterilized needles and close personal contact.
- Sudan ebolavirus (SEBOV)
- Like the Zaire virus, SEBOV emerged in 1976; it was at first assumed to be identical with the Zaire species. SEBOV is believed to have broken out first amongst cotton factory workers in Nzara, Sudan, with the first case reported as a worker exposed to a potential natural reservoir. Scientists tested local animals and insects in response to this; however, none tested positive for the virus. The carrier is still unknown. The lack of barrier nursing (or "bedside isolation") facilitated the spread of the disease. The most recent outbreak occurred in May, 2004. Twenty confirmed cases were reported in Yambio County, Sudan, with five deaths resulting. The average fatality rates for SEBOV were 54% in 1976, 68% in 1979, and 53% in 2000 and 2001.
- Reston ebolavirus (REBOV)
- This virus was discovered during an outbreak of simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV) in crab-eating macaques from Hazleton Laboratories (now Covance) in 1989. Since the initial outbreak in Reston, Virginia, it has since been found in nonhuman primates in Pennsylvania, Texas and Siena, Italy. In each case, the affected animals had been imported from a facility in the Philippines, where the virus has also infected pigs. Despite its status as a Level‑4 organism and its apparent pathogenicity in monkeys, REBOV did not cause disease in exposed human laboratory workers.
- Côte d'Ivoire ebolavirus (CIEBOV)
- Also referred to as Tai ebolavirus and by the English place name, "Ivory Coast", it was first discovered among chimpanzees from the Tai Forest in Côte d'Ivoire, Africa, in 1994. Necropsies showed blood within the heart to be brown; no obvious marks were seen on the organs; and one necropsy displayed lungs filled with blood. Studies of tissues taken from the chimpanzees showed results similar to human cases during the 1976 Ebola outbreaks in Zaire and Sudan. As more dead chimpanzees were discovered, many tested positive for Ebola using molecular techniques. The source of the virus was believed to be the meat of infected western red colobus monkeys (Procolobus badius) upon which the chimpanzees preyed. One of the scientists performing the necropsies on the infected chimpanzees contracted Ebola. She developed symptoms similar to those of dengue fever approximately a week after the necropsy, and was transported to Switzerland for treatment. She was discharged from hospital after two weeks and had fully recovered six weeks after the infection.
- Bundibugyo ebolavirus
- On November 24, 2007, the Uganda Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Ebola in the Bundibugyo District. After confirmation of samples tested by the United States National Reference Laboratories and the CDC, the World Health Organization confirmed the presence of the new species. On 20 February 2008, the Uganda Ministry officially announced the end of the epidemic in Bundibugyo, with the last infected person discharged on 8 January 2008. An epidemiological study conducted by WHO and Uganda Ministry of Health scientists determined there were 116 confirmed and probable cases the new Ebola species, and that the outbreak had a mortality rate of 34% (39 deaths).
Rates of genetic change are one one-hundredth as fast as influenza A in humans, but on the same magnitude as those of hepatitis B. Extrapolating backwards using these rates indicates Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus diverged several thousand years ago. However, paleoviruses (genomic fossils) of filoviruses (Filoviridae) found in mammals indicate that the family itself is at least tens of millions of years old.
|Species name||Virus name (Abbreviation)|
|Bundibugyo ebolavirus||Bundibugyo virus (BDBV; previously BEBOV)|
|Reston ebolavirus||Reston virus (RESTV; previously REBOV)|
|Sudan ebolavirus||Sudan virus (SUDV; previously SEBOV)|
|Taï Forest ebolavirus||Taï Forest virus (TAFV; previously CIEBOV)|
|Zaire ebolavirus*||Ebola virus (EBOV; previously ZEBOV)|
Table legend: "*" denotes type species
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