The Ebola virus has killed some 1,300 people in Central Africa over the last 30 years. In most of these cases where it has been possible to trace the source of the outbreak, it has been associated with the consumption of contaminated apes or antelopes. But very little has been known about contagion in natural populations.
In the present study an international research team, including a group from Uppsala University in Sweden, has tracked two outbreaks and followed their spread among a gorilla population in Lossi Reservation in the Republic of Congo. The gorilla populations have been monitored by some of the scientists since 1995. As a result of this, 17 gorilla groups with a total of 238 individuals have grown accustomed to the presence of humans. However, two outbreaks of Ebola virus, one between October 2002 and January 2003 and the other between October 2003 and January 2004, led to the death of 221 of them (93%). To examine whether this high mortality rate also affected the area outside the reservation, the researchers carried out a study of a larger area (2,700km2) and found that 96 percent of the gorillas had disappeared. A total of 5,000 gorillas are estimated to have died from Ebola.
“These figures unfortunately represent merely a portion of the area that the virus has infected, and gorillas are continuing to die in this region,” says Carles Vilà.
Careful monitoring has revealed that the transmission between gorilla groups has probably played a key role in the spread of the disease. This also means that the researchers reject the possibility that the outbreaks were the result of a massive transmission of the virus from a reservoir (e.g. mosquitoes or bats). An important conclusion of the study is therefore that vaccinating the as yet unaffected gorillas may be a key measure to stop the spread of Ebola among gorillas.
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy