Serological evidence of zoonotic filovirus exposure among bushmeat hunters in Guinea

Joseph Akoi Boré, Joseph W.S. Timothy, Tom Tipton, Ifono Kekoura, Yper Hall, Grace Hood, Stephanie Longet, Kimberly Fornace, Millimono S. Lucien, Sarah Katarina Fehling, Beatrice K. Koivogui, Si’Ana A. Coggins, Eric D. Laing, Christopher C. Broder, N’ Faly Magassouba, Thomas Strecker, Jeremy Rossman, Kader Konde, Miles W. Carroll*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Human Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreaks caused by persistent EBOV infection raises questions on the role of zoonotic spillover in filovirus epidemiology. To characterise filovirus zoonotic exposure, we collected cross-sectional serum samples from bushmeat hunters (n = 498) in Macenta Prefecture Guinea, adjacent to the index site of the 2013 EBOV-Makona spillover event. We identified distinct immune signatures (20/498, 4.0%) to multiple EBOV antigens (GP, NP, VP40) using stepwise ELISA and Western blot analysis and, live EBOV neutralisation (5/20; 25%). Using comparative serological data from PCR-confirmed survivors of the 2013-2016 EBOV outbreak, we demonstrated that most signatures (15/20) were not plausibly explained by prior EBOV-Makona exposure. Subsequent data-driven modelling of EBOV immunological outcomes to remote-sensing environmental data also revealed consistent associations with intact closed canopy forest. Together our findings suggest exposure to other closely related filoviruses prior to the 2013-2016 West Africa epidemic and highlight future surveillance priorities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4171
JournalNature Communications
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

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