Graduation Year

2016

Date of Submission

4-2016

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Biology

Reader 1

Diane Thomson

Reader 2

Suzanne Kern

Rights Information

© 2016 Nicole M. Hohnstein

Abstract

Ebola virus (EBOV) is a re-emerging zoonotic virus (it is transmitted between animals and humans) that causes acute hemorrhagic fever and a high fatality rate in humans. First reported in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), the virus is transmitted between humans through direct contact with body fluids of an infected person, causing fever, weakness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea and vomiting in those affected. There is neither a licensed vaccine nor an approved treatment for Ebola virus in human patients. The reservoir species for Ebola virus is similarly unknown, as many studies have attempted yet failed to isolate living virus from potential candidates. The widely accepted and circulated hypothesis based on preliminary findings of outbreaks past is that bat species, specifically the fruit bat species Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata are potential reservoirs. Recent reports, especially concerning findings from the 2014 Ebola outbreak, have determined that insectivorous bats could similarly be reservoir species. Successful isolation of a live virus from a bat species found through a widened sampling of a variety of bat species would confirm the hypothesis that bats, either fruit or insectivorous, are the reservoir species for Ebola virus.

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