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.
Embryonic development: How do limbs develop from cells?
18.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Reading histone modifications, an oncoprotein is modified in return
18.05.2018 | American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
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The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
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Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
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A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
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