Dev Biol (Basel) 2013 14;135:211-8. Epub 2013 May 14.
National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Winnipeg, Canada.
Ebola viruses (EBOV; genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae) cause often fatal, hemorrhagic fever in several species of simian primates including human. While fruit bats are considered a natural reservoir, the involvement of other species in the EBOV transmission cycle is unclear, especially for domesticated animals. Dogs and pigs are so far the only domestic animals identified as species that can be infected with EBOV. In 2009 Reston-EBOV was the first EBOV reported to infect swine with indicated transmission to humans; and a survey in Gabon found over 30% seroprevalence for EBOV in dogs during the Ebola outbreak in 2001-2002. While infections in dogs appear to be asymptomatic, pigs experimentally infected with EBOV can develop clinical disease, depending on the virus species and possibly the age of the infected animals. In the experimental settings, pigs can transmit Zaire-Ebola virus to naive pigs and macaques; however, their role during Ebola outbreaks in Africa needs to be clarified. Attempts at virus and antibody detection require as a prerequisite validation of viral RNA and antibody detection methods especially for pigs, as well as the development of a sampling strategy. Significant issues about disease development remain to be resolved for EBOV. Evaluation of current human vaccine candidates or development of veterinary vaccines de novo for EBOV might need to be considered, especially if pigs or dogs are implicated in the transmission of an African species of EBOV to humans.