Journal Article

Detection of Ebola Virus in Oral Fluid Specimens during Outbreaks of Ebola Virus Hemorrhagic Fever in the Republic of Congo

Pierre Formenty, Eric Maurice Leroy, Alain Epelboin, François Libama, Marco Lenzi, Hinrich Sudeck, Philippe Yaba, Yokouidé Allarangar, Paul Boumandouki, Virginot Blad Nkounkou, Christian Drosten, Allen Grolla, Heinz Feldmann and Cathy Roth

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 42, issue 11, pages 1521-1526
Published in print June 2006 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online June 2006 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/503836
Detection of Ebola Virus in Oral Fluid Specimens during Outbreaks of Ebola Virus Hemorrhagic Fever in the Republic of Congo

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Background. Patients who have refused to provide blood samples has meant that there have been significant delays in confirming outbreaks of Ebola virus hemorrhagic fever (EVHF). During the 2 EVHF outbreaks in the Republic of Congo in 2003, we assessed the use of oral fluid specimens versus serum samples for laboratory confirmation of cases of EVHF.

Methods. Serum and oral fluid specimens were obtained from 24 patients with suspected Ebola and 10 healthy control subjects. Specimens were analyzed for immunoglobulin G antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and for Ebola virus by antigen detection ELISA and reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Oral fluid specimens were collected with a commercially available collection device.

Results. We failed to detect antibodies against Ebola in the oral fluid specimens obtained from patients whose serum samples were seropositive. All patients with positive serum RT-PCR results also had positive results for their oral fluid specimens.

Conclusions. This study demonstrates the usefulness of oral fluid samples for the investigation of Ebola outbreaks, but further development in antibodies and antigen detection in oral fluid specimens is needed before these samples are used for filovirus surveillance activities in Africa.

Journal Article.  3440 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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