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Open AccessArticle

Investigating the Circulation of Ebola Viruses in Bats during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks in the Equateur and North Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2018

1
TransVIHMI (Recherches Translationnelles sur VIH et Maladies Infectieuses), Université de Montpellier, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, INSERM, 34394 Montpellier, France
2
Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), 1197 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
3
Service de Microbiologie, Cliniques Universitaires de Kinshasa, 1197 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
4
Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo
5
Laboratoire Provincial de Mbandaka, Equateur, Democratic Republic of the Congo
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Tatjana Vilibic-Cavlek
Pathogens 2021, 10(5), 557; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050557
Received: 31 March 2021 / Revised: 28 April 2021 / Accepted: 30 April 2021 / Published: 4 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging and Neglected Viruses and Zoonoses)
With 12 of the 31 outbreaks, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is highly affected by Ebolavirus disease (EVD). To better understand the role of bats in the ecology of Ebola viruses, we conducted surveys in bats during two recent EVD outbreaks and in two areas with previous outbreaks. Dried blood spots were tested for antibodies to ebolaviruses and oral and rectal swabs were screened for the presence of filovirus using a broadly reactive semi-nested RT-PCR. Between 2018 and 2020, 892 (88.6%) frugivorous and 115 (11.4%) insectivorous bats were collected. Overall, 11/925 (1.2%) to 100/925 (10.8%) bats showed antibodies to at least one Ebolavirus antigen depending on the positivity criteria. Antibodies were detected in fruit bats from the four sites and from species previously documented to harbor Ebola antibodies or RNA. We tested for the first time a large number of bats during ongoing EVD outbreaks in DRC, but no viral RNA was detected in the 676 sampled bats. Our study illustrates the difficulty to document the role of bats as a source of Ebolaviruses as they might clear quickly the virus. Given the increasing frequency of EVD outbreaks, more studies on the animal reservoir are urgently needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Ebola virus; bats; the Democratic Republic of the Congo Ebola virus; bats; the Democratic Republic of the Congo
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lacroix, A.; Mbala Kingebeni, P.; Ndimbo Kumugo, S.P.; Lempu, G.; Butel, C.; Serrano, L.; Vidal, N.; Thaurignac, G.; Esteban, A.; Mukadi Bamuleka, D.; Likofata, J.; Delaporte, E.; Muyembe Tamfum, J.-J.; Ayouba, A.; Peeters, M.; Ahuka Mundeke, S. Investigating the Circulation of Ebola Viruses in Bats during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks in the Equateur and North Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2018. Pathogens 2021, 10, 557. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050557

AMA Style

Lacroix A, Mbala Kingebeni P, Ndimbo Kumugo SP, Lempu G, Butel C, Serrano L, Vidal N, Thaurignac G, Esteban A, Mukadi Bamuleka D, Likofata J, Delaporte E, Muyembe Tamfum J-J, Ayouba A, Peeters M, Ahuka Mundeke S. Investigating the Circulation of Ebola Viruses in Bats during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks in the Equateur and North Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2018. Pathogens. 2021; 10(5):557. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050557

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lacroix, Audrey; Mbala Kingebeni, Placide; Ndimbo Kumugo, Simon P.; Lempu, Guy; Butel, Christelle; Serrano, Laetitia; Vidal, Nicole; Thaurignac, Guillaume; Esteban, Amandine; Mukadi Bamuleka, Daniel; Likofata, Jacques; Delaporte, Eric; Muyembe Tamfum, Jean-Jacques; Ayouba, Ahidjo; Peeters, Martine; Ahuka Mundeke, Steve. 2021. "Investigating the Circulation of Ebola Viruses in Bats during the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreaks in the Equateur and North Kivu Provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo from 2018" Pathogens 10, no. 5: 557. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10050557

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