Serological evidence of Ebola virus infection in Indonesian orangutans

Chairul A. Nidom, Eri Nakayama, Reviany V. Nidom, Mohamad Y. Alamudi, Syafril Daulay, Indi N.L.P. Dharmayanti, Yoes P. Dachlan, Mohamad Amin, Manabu Igarashi, Hiroko Miyamoto, Reiko Yoshida, Ayato Takada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV) belong to the family Filoviridae and cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and nonhuman primates. Despite the discovery of EBOV (Reston virus) in nonhuman primates and domestic pigs in the Philippines and the serological evidence for its infection of humans and fruit bats, information on the reservoirs and potential amplifying hosts for filoviruses in Asia is lacking. In this study, serum samples collected from 353 healthy Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) in Kalimantan Island, Indonesia, during the period from December 2005 to December 2006 were screened for filovirus-specific IgG antibodies using a highly sensitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) with recombinant viral surface glycoprotein (GP) antigens derived from multiple species of filoviruses (5 EBOV and 1 MARV species). Here we show that 18.4% (65/353) and 1.7% (6/353) of the samples were seropositive for EBOV and MARV, respectively, with little cross-reactivity among EBOV and MARV antigens. In these positive samples, IgG antibodies to viral internal proteins were also detected by immunoblotting. Interestingly, while the specificity for Reston virus, which has been recognized as an Asian filovirus, was the highest in only 1.4% (5/353) of the serum samples, the majority of EBOV-positive sera showed specificity to Zaire, Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, or Bundibugyo viruses, all of which have been found so far only in Africa. These results suggest the existence of multiple species of filoviruses or unknown filovirus-related viruses in Indonesia, some of which are serologically similar to African EBOVs, and transmission of the viruses from yet unidentified reservoir hosts into the orangutan populations. Our findings point to the need for risk assessment and continued surveillance of filovirus infection of human and nonhuman primates, as well as wild and domestic animals, in Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere40740
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2012

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