The epidemics of Ebola virus in West Africa and Zika virus in America highlight how viruses can explosively emerge into new territories. These epidemics also exposed how unprepared we are to handle infectious disease emergencies. This is also true when we consider hypothesized new clinical features of infection, such as the associations between Zika virus infection and severe neurological disease,…
Infectious disease outbreaks continue to pose challenges to global health and security, prompting reactive countermeasures. Recently, severe outbreaks of Ebola and Zika virus were designated by the World Health Organization as “Public Health Emergencies of International Concern.” Other emerging viral pathogens have warranted similar attention, including virus outbreaks from Lassa, Chikungunya, avian influenza, Nipah, SARS, and MERS.
In a large multi-disciplinary collaboration between partners in Sierra Leone, Nigeria, USA, and Europe, we have published our first study on Lassa virus evolution. The paper – which appears on the front page of the August issue of Cell – is the result of seven years of work on Lassa fever across West Africa.
In a large collaboration between the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium, Kenema Government Hospital, Harvard University, Broad Institute, Tulane University, Edinburgh University, the CDC, USAMRIID, and others we have just published a paper in Cell detailing the epidemiology, transmission, and evolution of Ebola virus over seven months in Sierra Leone.
Our new paper on the discovery of two novel rhabdoviruses in Nigeria is out in PLoS Neglected. In this study we used NextGeneration Illumina sequencing to look for viruses in the blood of sick and healthy individuals. Surprisingly, we discovered the presence of two completely rhabdoviruses in healthy individuals.