Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Serologic markers for ebolavirus among healthcare workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Hoff, Nicole A.; Mukadi, Patrick; Doshi, Reena H.; Bramble, Matthew S.; Lu, Kai; Gadoth, Adva; Sinai, Cyrus; Spencer, D'Andre; Nicholson, Bradley P.; Williams, Russell; Mossoko, Matthias; Ilunga-Kebela, Benoit; Wasiswa, Joseph; Okitolonda-Wemakoy, Emile; Alfonso, Vivian H.; Steffen, Imke; Muyembe-Tamfum, Jean-Jacques; Simmons, Graham; Rimoin, Anne W.

Healthcare settings have played a major role in propagation of Ebola virus (EBOV) outbreaks. Healthcare workers (HCWs) have elevated risk of contact with EBOV-infected patients, particularly if safety precautions are not rigorously practiced. We conducted a serosurvey to determine seroprevalence against multiple EBOV antigens among HCWs of Boende Health Zone, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the site of a 2014 EBOV outbreak. Interviews and specimens were collected from 565 consenting HCWs. Overall, 234 (41.4%) of enrolled HCWs were reactive to at least 1 EBOV protein: 159 (28.1%) were seroreactive for anti-glycoprotein immunoglobulin G (IgG), 89 (15.8%) were seroreactive for anti-nucleoprotein IgG, and 54 (9.5%) were VP40 positive. Additionally, sera from 16 (2.8%) HCWs demonstrated neutralization capacity. These data demonstrate that a significant proportion of HCWs have the ability to neutralize virus, despite never having developed Ebola virus disease symptoms, highlighting an important and poorly documented aspect of EBOV infection and progression.

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Hoff, N.A., Mukadi, P., Doshi, R.H., Bramble, M.S., Lu, K., Gadoth, A., Sinai, C., Spencer, D., Nicholson, B.P., Williams, R., Mossoko, M., Ilunga-Kebela, B., Wasiswa, J., Okitolonda-Wemakoy, E., Alfonso, V.H., Steffen, I., Muyembe-Tamfum, J.-J., Simmons, G., Rimoin, A.W., 2019. Serologic markers for ebolavirus among healthcare workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. journal of infectious diseases 219, 517–525. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiy499
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