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Braz J Infect Dis. 1998 Dec;2(6):265-268.

Epidemiology of the Ebola Virus: Facts and Hypotheses.

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Department of Virology, Institute of Microbiology Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.


Marburg and Ebola viruses are emerging pathogens recognized since 1967, and in 1976, when they were first identified. These viruses are the only members of the Filoviridae family. They cause severe, frequently fatal, hemorrhagic fever. Each genus includes some serotypes with the distinctive characteristics to cause high mortality rate during outbreaks. The Ebola-Zaire subtype is the most lethal variant. The epidemiology of human pathogenic filovirus is reviewed in this paper considering the most relevant facts. Primary human cases arise probably through close contact with infected primates. This point may be the key to preventing the introduction of these viruses in human populations. Once introduced in humans, the infection may spread through close contact with infected individuals or their body fluids, particularly in hospital environments. A main feature of filovirus outbreaks is the occurrence of cycles of secondary infection.


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