Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Human Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreaks caused by persistent EBOV infection raises questions on the role of zoonotic spillover in filovirus epidemiology. To characterise filovirus zoonotic exposure, we collected cross-sectional serum samples from bushmeat hunters (n = 498) in Macenta Prefecture Guinea, adjacent to the index site of the 2013 EBOV-Makona spillover event. We identified distinct immune signatures (20/498, 4.0%) to multiple EBOV antigens (GP, NP, VP40) using stepwise ELISA and Western blot analysis and, live EBOV neutralisation (5/20; 25%). Using comparative serological data from PCR-confirmed survivors of the 2013-2016 EBOV outbreak, we demonstrated that most signatures (15/20) were not plausibly explained by prior EBOV-Makona exposure. Subsequent data-driven modelling of EBOV immunological outcomes to remote-sensing environmental data also revealed consistent associations with intact closed canopy forest. Together our findings suggest exposure to other closely related filoviruses prior to the 2013-2016 West Africa epidemic and highlight future surveillance priorities.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Humans, Animals, Guinea, Ebolavirus, Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola, Adult, Male, Antibodies, Viral, Middle Aged, Zoonoses, Female, Cross-Sectional Studies, Disease Outbreaks, Young Adult, Aged, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Viral Zoonoses, Antigens, Viral