Ebola virus transmission initiated by relapse of systemic Ebola virus disease

Mbala-Kingebeni P, Pratt C, Mutafali-Ruffin M, Pauthner MG, Bile F, Nkuba-Ndaye A, Black A, Kinganda-Lusamaki E, Faye M, Aziza A, Diagne MM, Mukadi D, White B, Hadfield J, Gangavarapu K, Bisento N, Kazadi D, Nsunda B, Akonga M, Tshiani O, Misasi J, Ploquin A, Epaso V, Sana-Paka E, N'kasar YTT, Mambu F, Edidi F, Matondo M, Bula Bula J, Diallo B, Keita M, Belizaire MRD, Fall IS, Yam A, Mulangu S, Rimion AW, Salfati E, Torkamani A, Suchard MA, Crozier I, Hensley L, Rambaut A, Faye O, Sall A, Sullivan NJ, Bedford T, Andersen KG, Wiley MR, Ahuka-Mundeke S, Muyembe Tamfum J-J. 2021. N Engl J Med 384: 1240-1247.


During the 2018–2020 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo, EVD was diagnosed in a patient who had received the recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus–based vaccine expressing a ZEBOV glycoprotein (rVSV-ZEBOV) (Merck). His treatment included an Ebola virus (EBOV)–specific monoclonal antibody (mAb114), and he recovered within 14 days. However, 6 months later, he presented again with severe EVD-like illness and EBOV viremia, and he died. We initiated epidemiologic and genomic investigations that showed that the patient had had a relapse of acute EVD that led to a transmission chain resulting in 91 cases across six health zones over 4 months.