Isolation of Angola-like Marburg virus from Egyptian rousette bats from West Africa

Brian R. Amman, Brian H. Bird, Ibrahim A. Bakarr, James Bangura, Amy J. Schuh, Jonathan Johnny, Tara K. Sealy, Immah Conteh, Alusine H. Koroma, Ibrahim Foday, Emmanuel Amara, Abdulai A. Bangura, Aiah A. Gbakima, Alexandre Tremeau-Bravard, Manjunatha Belaganahalli, Jasjeet Dhanota, Andrew Chow, Victoria Ontiveros, Alexandra Gibson, Joseph TurayKetan Patel, James Graziano, Camilla Bangura, Emmanuel S. Kamanda, Augustus Osborne, Emmanuel Saidu, Jonathan Musa, Doris Bangura, Samuel Maxwell Tom Williams, Richard Wadsworth, Mohamed Turay, Lavalie Edwin, Vanessa Mereweather-Thompson, Dickson Kargbo, Fatmata V. Bairoh, Marilyn Kanu, Willie Robert, Victor Lungai, Raoul Emeric Guetiya Wadoum, Moinya Coomber, Osman Kanu, Amara Jambai, Sorie M. Kamara, Celine H. Taboy, Tushar Singh, Jonna A.K. Mazet, Stuart T. Nichol, Tracey Goldstein, Jonathan S. Towner, Aiah Lebbie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Marburg virus (MARV) causes sporadic outbreaks of severe Marburg virus disease (MVD). Most MVD outbreaks originated in East Africa and field studies in East Africa, South Africa, Zambia, and Gabon identified the Egyptian rousette bat (ERB; Rousettus aegyptiacus) as a natural reservoir. However, the largest recorded MVD outbreak with the highest case–fatality ratio happened in 2005 in Angola, where direct spillover from bats was not shown. Here, collaborative studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Njala University, University of California, Davis USAID-PREDICT, and the University of Makeni identify MARV circulating in ERBs in Sierra Leone. PCR, antibody and virus isolation data from 1755 bats of 42 species shows active MARV infection in approximately 2.5% of ERBs. Phylogenetic analysis identifies MARVs that are similar to the Angola strain. These results provide evidence of MARV circulation in West Africa and demonstrate the value of pathogen surveillance to identify previously undetected threats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number510
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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