The Reston ebolavirus, also known as RESTV, is one of six known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. Unlike the other five ebolaviruses, RESTV is not known to cause disease in humans, but it has caused asymptomatic infections. It was first discovered in 1989 in crab-eating macaques from a laboratory near Washington D.C, causing concern and media attention due to the proximity of the location to the nation's capital and the lethality of a closely related virus, Ebola.
Table of Contents
- History of the Reston Ebolavirus
- Transmission and Symptoms
- Treatment and Prevention
Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness caused by a virus from the Filoviridae family. The Ebola virus looks like a worm.
The Ebola virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. RESTV is one of the six known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus, however, it is not known to cause disease in humans but it causes Ebola virus disease in non-human primates.
It was first identified in Reston, Virginia, USA in 1989, where it was discovered in a group of crab-eating macaques imported from the Philippines. The discovery of the virus in these monkeys led to an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to trace the origin and spread of the virus.
History of the Reston Ebolavirus
The Reston ebolavirus outbreak in 1989 and 1990 was significant because it was the first time the virus had been found in non-human primates outside of Africa and it was the first time an Ebola virus had been identified in the Western Hemisphere. The outbreak also raised concerns about the potential for the virus to spread to humans and the risk it posed to the public health.
As a result of the outbreak, an investigation was conducted by the CDC to trace the origin and spread of the virus. It was determined that the monkeys had likely contracted the virus while in transit, and shipments were tracked to New York City, Texas, and Mexico City, but none of these locations reported cases of infection. In response to the outbreak, a temporary ban was placed on the importation of monkeys into the United States from anywhere in the world.
The Reston ebolavirus received significant media attention due to its location near the nation's capital and the lethality of a closely related virus, Ebola. Despite its status as a level-4 organism, RESTV is non-pathogenic to humans, though hazardous to monkeys. However, the reason for its lack of human pathogenicity is still not fully understood. Studies have been conducted to investigate RESTV's origin and spread, including tracing its importation to the Philippines, and serosurveys to assess its prevalence. Despite ongoing research, much about RESTV remains a mystery.
Transmission and Symptoms
The Reston ebolavirus is primarily transmitted to non-human primates from wild animals, particularly fruit bats. It can also spread through human-to-human transmission via contact with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected primates, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
Symptoms of RESTV in non-human primates are similar to those of other ebolaviruses, including fever, headache, muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising). However, it is important to note that RESTV does not cause disease in humans and asymptomatic infections have been reported.
Treatment and Prevention
Currently, there is no specific treatment for RESTV. Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms and providing supportive care to help the body fight the virus. This can include providing fluids and electrolytes, maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure, and treating any complicating infections.
The best way to protect non-human primates from RESTV is to avoid exposure to the virus. This includes avoiding contact with infected primates, and avoiding contact with their blood and other body fluids. It's also important to practice good hygiene and to avoid consuming or handling wild animals, particularly fruit bats, as they are believed to be a natural host of the virus.
In laboratory settings, it's important to take appropriate precautions when handling RESTV, including wearing protective clothing and equipment, and following proper decontamination procedures.
The Reston ebolavirus, also known as RESTV, is one of six known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. Unlike the other five ebolaviruses, RESTV is not known to cause disease in humans (and so no humans died), but it has caused asymptomatic infections. It was first identified in Reston, Virginia, USA in 1989, where it was discovered in a group of crab-eating macaques imported from the Philippines. The Reston ebolavirus outbreak in 1989 and 1990 was significant because it was the first time the virus had been found in non-human primates outside of Africa and it was the first time an Ebola virus had been identified in the Western Hemisphere. While there is no specific treatment for RESTV, supportive care and management of symptoms can help to improve the chances of survival. It's also important to take preventative measures to avoid exposure to the virus, such as practicing good hygiene and avoiding contact with wild animals, to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.