|False color scanning electron microscope image of a single filamentous Ebola virus particle|
|Member virus (Abbreviation)|
Ebola virus (EBOV)
The species Zaire ebolavirus is a virological taxon included in the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. The species has a single virus member, Ebola virus (EBOV), and it is the type species for the genus Ebolavirus. The members of the species are called Zaire ebolaviruses.
According to the rules for taxon naming established by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), the name Zaire ebolavirus is always to be capitalized, italicized, and to be preceded by the word "species". The names of its members (Zaire ebolaviruses) are to be capitalized, are not italicized, and used without articles.
Species inclusion criteria
- it is endemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, or the Republic of the Congo
- it has a genome with two or three gene overlaps (VP35/VP40, GP/VP30, VP24/L)
- it has a genomic sequence that differs from the type virus by less than 30%
Zaire ebolavirus diverged from its ancestors between 1960-1976. The genetic diversity of Ebolavirus remained constant before 1900. Then, around the 1960s, most likely due to climate change or human activities, the genetic diversity of the virus dropped rapidly and most lineages became extinct. As the number of susceptible hosts declines, so does the effective population size and its genetic diversity. This genetic bottleneck effect has implications for the species' ability to cause Ebola virus disease in human hosts.
Zaire ebolavirus -Makona variant caused the 2014 West Africa outbreak. The outbreak was characterized by the longest instance of human-to-human transmission of the viral species. Pressures to adapt to the human host were seen at this time, however, there were no phenotypic changes in the virus (such as increased transmission, increased immune evasion by the virus) were seen.
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