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Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Dec;10(12):2073-81.

Potential mammalian filovirus reservoirs.

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University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA.


Ebola and Marburg viruses are maintained in unknown reservoir species; spillover into human populations results in occasional human cases or epidemics. We attempted to narrow the list of possibilities regarding the identity of those reservoir species. We made a series of explicit assumptions about the reservoir: it is a mammal; it supports persistent, largely asymptomatic filovirus infections; its range subsumes that of its associated filovirus; it has coevolved with the virus; it is of small body size; and it is not a species that is commensal with humans. Under these assumptions, we developed priority lists of mammal clades that coincide distributionally with filovirus outbreak distributions and compared these lists with those mammal taxa that have been tested for filovirus infection in previous epidemiologic studies. Studying the remainder of these taxa may be a fruitful avenue for pursuing the identity of natural reservoirs of filoviruses.

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