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Ebola Virus Transmission Initiated by Relapse of Systemic Ebola Virus Disease

N Engl J Med. 2021 Apr 1;384(13):1240-1247. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2024670.

Mbala-Kingebeni P, Pratt C, Mutafali-Ruffin M, Pauthner MG, Bile F, Nkuba-Ndaye A, Black A, Kinganda-Lusamaki E, Faye M, Aziza A, Diagne MM, Mukadi D, White B, Hadfield J, Gangavarapu K, Bisento N, Kazadi D, Nsunda B, Akonga M, Tshiani O, Misasi J, Ploquin A, Epaso V, Sana-Paka E, N’kasar YTT, Mambu F, Edidi F, Matondo M, Bula Bula J, Diallo B, Keita M, Belizaire MRD, Fall IS, Yam A, Mulangu S, Rimion AW, Salfati E, Torkamani A, Suchard MA, Crozier I, Hensley L, Rambaut A, Faye O, Sall A, Sullivan NJ, Bedford T, Andersen KG, Wiley MR, Ahuka-Mundeke S, Muyembe Tamfum JJ.

During the 2018-2020 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, EVD was diagnosed in a patient who had received the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus-based vaccine expressing a ZEBOV glycoprotein (rVSV-ZEBOV) (Merck). His treatment included an Ebola virus (EBOV)-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb114), and he recovered within 14 days. However, 6 months later, he presented again with severe EVD-like illness and EBOV viremia, and he died. We initiated epidemiologic and genomic investigations that showed that the patient had had a relapse of acute EVD that led to a transmission chain resulting in 91 cases across six health zones over 4 months.

Media Coverage
Axios – Man’s Ebola relapse led to 91 new cases in DRC, study finds
Vox – Long Covid isn’t as unique as we thought
ABC News – Man’s Ebola relapse spawned dozens of new cases in Africa

Press Releases
Scripps Research – Scientific detective work reveals important clues in case of rare Ebola relapse in Central Africa