The new Ebola outbreak in Guinea may be traced to a survivor of the previous epidemic in the region, Science reports.
It adds that the current outbreak appears to have begun with the death of a 51-year-old nurse who was thought to have typhoid and malaria, but after her caregiver and attendees of her funeral fell ill, researchers began instead to suspect Ebola. According to Science, a phylogenetic analysis of samples from affected individuals found that the new outbreak samples clustered with viral samples from the 2013 to 2016 Ebola epidemic.
This, researchers from the Guinea Ministry of Health, the Institut Pasteur de Dakar, and elsewhere note in a post to virological.org, suggests that the outbreak is not due to spillover from an animal host, but is linked to the previous outbreak. The New York Times notes that the virus may linger in immunologically privileged sites of the body like the eyes, central nervous system, and testes, which are all also difficult to study.
Science adds that there are concerns that the findings may increase stigmatization of Ebola survivors who already face challenges.