Clinical virology of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF): virus, virus antigen, and IgG and IgM antibody findings among EHF patients in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1995

J Infect Dis. 1999 Feb:179 Suppl 1:S177-87. doi: 10.1086/514321.


Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) patients treated at Kikwit General Hospital during the 1995 outbreak were tested for viral antigen, IgG and IgM antibody, and infectious virus. Viral antigen could be detected in virtually all patients during the acute phase of illness, while antibody was not always detectable before death. Virus was also isolated from patients during the course of their febrile illness, but attempts to quantify virus in Vero E6 cells by standard plaque assay were often unsuccessful. IgG and IgM antibody appeared at approximately the same time after disease onset (8-10 days), but IgM persisted for a much shorter period among the surviving convalescent patients. IgG antibody was detectable in surviving patients through about 2 years after onset, the latest time that samples were obtained. Detection of Ebola virus antigens or virus isolation appears to be the most reliable means of diagnosis for patients with suspected acute EHF, since patients with this often-fatal disease (80% mortality) may not develop detectable antibodies before death.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antigens, Viral / blood*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo / epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Ebolavirus / growth & development
  • Ebolavirus / immunology*
  • Ebolavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / immunology*
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola / virology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Rabbits
  • Time Factors
  • Vero Cells
  • Viral Plaque Assay
  • Virology / methods


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M