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, 10 (12), 2073-81

Potential Mammalian Filovirus Reservoirs

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Potential Mammalian Filovirus Reservoirs

A Townsend Peterson et al. Emerg Infect Dis.

Abstract

Ebola and Marburg viruses are maintained in unknown reservoir species; spillover into human populations results in occasional human cases or epidemics. We attempted to narrow the list of possibilities regarding the identity of those reservoir species. We made a series of explicit assumptions about the reservoir: it is a mammal; it supports persistent, largely asymptomatic filovirus infections; its range subsumes that of its associated filovirus; it has coevolved with the virus; it is of small body size; and it is not a species that is commensal with humans. Under these assumptions, we developed priority lists of mammal clades that coincide distributionally with filovirus outbreak distributions and compared these lists with those mammal taxa that have been tested for filovirus infection in previous epidemiologic studies. Studying the remainder of these taxa may be a fruitful avenue for pursuing the identity of natural reservoirs of filoviruses.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Distributional summary of A) Ebola and B) Marburg viruses, with predicted distributions based on ecologic niche models of outbreak coordinates (13). Darker shades of red represent increasing confidence in prediction of potential presence. Disease outbreaks attributed to various filovirus species are represented as follows: open square, Ebola Ivory Coast, open circle, Ebola Zaire, open triangle, Ebola Sudan, dotted square, Marburg.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Summary of numbers per species that have been tested in studies seeking filovirus infections in wild mammals (Table A1). A) Theoretical probabilities of detecting the reservoir in samples of particular sizes, given prevalences of 0.1%, 1%, and 10%. B) Frequency (1–11 species) with which species have been tested for filoviruses.

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