Ebola virus epidemiology, transmission, and evolution during seven months in Sierra LeonePark DJ, Dudas G, Wohl S, Goba A, Whitmer SL, Andersen KG, Sealfon RS, Ladner JT, Kugelman JR, Matranga CB, Winnicki SM, Qu J, Gire SK, Gladden-Young A, Jalloh S, Nosamiefan D, Yozwiak NL, Moses LM, Jiang PP, Lin AE, Schaffner SF, Bird B, Towner J, Mamoh M, Gbakie M, Kanneh L, Kargbo D, Massally JL, Kamara FK, Konuwa E, Sellu J, Jalloh AA, Mustapha I, Foday M, Yillah M, Erickson BR, Sealy T, Blau D, Paddock C, Brault A, Amman B, Basile J, Bearden S, Belser J, Bergeron E, Campbell S, Chakrabarti A, Dodd K, Flint M, Gibbons A, Goodman C, Klena J, McMullan L, Morgan L, Russell B, Salzer J, Sanchez A, Wang D, Jungreis I, Tomkins-Tinch C, Kislyuk A, Lin MF, Chapman S, MacInnis B, Matthews A, Bochicchio J, Hensley LE, Kuhn JH, Nusbaum C, Schieffelin JS, Birren BW, Forget M, Nichol ST, Palacios GF, Ndiaye D, Happi C, Gevao SM, Vandi MA, Kargbo B, Holmes EC, Bedford T, Gnirke A, Ströher U, Rambaut A, Garry RF & Sabeti PC
(2015) Cell 161, 1516-1526.
The 2013?2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic is caused by the Makona variant of Ebola virus (EBOV). Early in the epidemic, genome sequencing provided insights into virus evolution and transmission and offered important information for outbreak response. Here, we analyze sequences from 232 patients sampled over 7 months in Sierra Leone, along with 86 previously released genomes from earlier in the epidemic. We confirm sustained human-to-human transmission within Sierra Leone and find no evidence for import or export of EBOV across national borders after its initial introduction. Using high-depth replicate sequencing, we observe both host-to-host transmission and recurrent emergence of intrahost genetic variants. We trace the increasing impact of purifying selection in suppressing the accumulation of nonsynonymous mutations over time. Finally, we note changes in the mucin-like domain of EBOV glycoprotein that merit further investigation. These findings clarify the movement of EBOV within the region and describe viral evolution during prolonged human-to-human transmission.