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15 Nov 2012

Transmission of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates (Nature, Scientific Reports, abstract, edited)

[Source: Nature Scientific Reports, full text: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Transmission of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates

Hana M. Weingartl,1, 2; Carissa Embury-Hyatt,1; Charles Nfon,1; Anders Leung,3; Greg Smith1; & Gary Kobinger3, 2

Journal name: Scientific Reports Volume: 2, Article number: 811

DOI: doi:10.1038/srep00811

Received 25 April 2012  - Accepted  28 September 2012  - Published 15 November 2012


Ebola viruses (EBOV) cause often fatal hemorrhagic fever in several species of simian primates including human. While fruit bats are considered natural reservoir, involvement of other species in EBOV transmission is unclear. In 2009, Reston-EBOV was the first EBOV detected in swine with indicated transmission to humans. In-contact transmission of Zaire-EBOV (ZEBOV) between pigs was demonstrated experimentally. Here we show ZEBOV transmission from pigs to cynomolgus macaques without direct contact. Interestingly, transmission between macaques in similar housing conditions was never observed. Piglets inoculated oro-nasally with ZEBOV were transferred to the room housing macaques in an open inaccessible cage system. All macaques became infected. Infectious virus was detected in oro-nasal swabs of piglets, and in blood, swabs, and tissues of macaques. This is the first report of experimental interspecies virus transmission, with the macaques also used as a human surrogate. Our finding may influence prevention and control measures during EBOV outbreaks.



  1. National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 1015 Arlington St. Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 3M4, Canada
    • Hana M. Weingartl,
    • Carissa Embury-Hyatt,
    • Charles Nfon &
    • Greg Smith
  2. Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
    • Hana M. Weingartl &
    • Gary Kobinger
  3. National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada, 1015 Arlington St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3E 3R2, Canada
    • Anders Leung &
    • Gary Kobinger


H.M.W. and G.K. conceived the study, design experiments, performed the animal experiments, analyzed and interpreted data, and wrote the manuscript. C.E-H. provided analysis of histopathology and data interpretation; A.L., G.S. and C.N. performed in vitro experiments and analyzed related data.

Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests.