BACKGROUND. The pathogenesis of Ebola virus (EBOV) disease (EVD) is poorly characterized. The establishment of well-equipped diagnostic laboratories close to Ebola treatment centers (ETCs) has made it possible to obtain relevant virological and biological data during the course of EVD and to assess their association with the clinical course and different outcomes of the disease.

METHODS. We were responsible for diagnosing EBOV infection in patients admitted to two ETCs in forested areas of Guinea. The pattern of clinical signs was recorded, and an etiological diagnosis was established by RT-PCR for EBOV infection or a rapid test for malaria and typhoid fever. Biochemical analyses were also performed.

RESULTS. We handled samples from 168 patients between November 29, 2014, and January 31, 2015; 97 patients were found to be infected with EBOV, with Plasmodium falciparum coinfection in 18%. Overall mortality for EVD cases was 58%, rising to 86% if P. falciparum was also present. Viral load was higher in fatal cases of EVD than in survivors, and fatal cases were associated with higher aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT), C-reactive protein (CRP), and IL-6 levels. Furthermore, regardless of outcome, EVD was characterized by higher creatine kinase (CPK), amylase, and creatinine levels than in febrile patients without EVD, with higher blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels in fatal cases of EVD only.

CONCLUSION. These findings suggest that a high viral load at admission is a marker of poor EVD prognosis. In addition, high AST, ALT, CRP, and IL-6 levels are associated with a fatal outcome of EVD. Damage to the liver and other tissues, with massive rhabdomyolysis and, probably, acute pancreatitis, is associated with EVD and correlated with disease severity. Finally, biochemical analyses provide substantial added value at ETCs, making it possible to improve supportive rehydration and symptomatic care for patients.

FUNDING. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Agence Française de Développement, and Institut Pasteur.


Marie-Astrid Vernet, Stéphanie Reynard, Alexandra Fizet, Justine Schaeffer, Delphine Pannetier, Jeremie Guedj, Max Rives, Nadia Georges, Nathalie Garcia-Bonnet, Aboubacar I. Sylla, Péma Grovogui, Jean-Yves Kerherve, Christophe Savio, Sylvie Savio-Coste, Marie-Laure de Séverac, Philippe Zloczewski, Sandrine Linares, Souley Harouna, Bing M’Lebing Abdoul, Frederic Petitjean, Nenefing Samake, Susan Shepherd, Moumouni Kinda, Fara Roger Koundouno, Ludovic Joxe, Mathieu Mateo, Patrick Lecine, Audrey Page, Tang Maleki Tchamdja, Matthieu Schoenhals, Solenne Barbe, Bernard Simon, Tuan Tran-Minh, Christophe Longuet, François L’Hériteau, Sylvain Baize


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