Researchers from University of Cambridge and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have discovered that Ebola can still be transmitted through sex and breastfeeding after quarantine – causing ‘flare-ups’ even though the epidemic has ended.
Without effective vaccines or treatments for Ebola infection, the 2014’s outbreak in West Africa was contained due to public health measures.
These included the rapid identification and isolation of Ebola patients, contact tracing and quarantine, as well as encouraging safe burial practices.
By mid-2015, the epidemic was winding down and all known transmission chains were thought to be blocked. But there was something strange – there were still some isolated cases cropping up.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute began investigating these cases in a temporary genome sequencing facility, with Ion Torrent equipment from Thermo Fisher (US). It was located in a tent, in Sierra Leone – one of the most affected countries.
The team has now published its work in Virus Evolution.