The Ebola virus that has killed over 120 people in West Africa, mainly in Guinea, this year is a new strain, evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks elsewhere in Africa, reports CBC News.
“The source of the virus is still not known, but it was not imported from nearby countries,” said Dr. Stephan Gunther of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany.
He led an international team of researchers who studied the genetics of the virus and reported results online in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Health officials reported earlier that the Guinea Ebola was a Zaire strain, different from the kind that has caused cases in other parts of Africa. (The Democratic Republic of Congo used to be called Zaire.)
The latest research analysed blood samples from 20 patients in the current outbreak and found the strain was unique.
Mining companies in Guinea locked down their operations and recalled expatriates in the wake of the Ebola virus, Reuters reported.
Expatriates were transferred temporarily to their home countries, according to a spokesperson for Brazilian iron ore miner Vale, which has a project in Guinea.