Laboratory diagnosis of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is currently performed by virus isolation and serology and can be done only in a few high- containment laboratories worldwide. In 1995, during the EHF outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the possibility of using immunohistochemistry (IHC) testing of formalin-fixed postmortem skin specimens was investigated as an alternative diagnostic method for EHF. Fourteen of 19 cases of suspected EHF met the surveillance definition for EHF and were positive by IHC. IHC, serologic, and virus isolation results were concordant for all EHF and non- EHF cases. IHC and electron microscopic examination showed that endothelial cells, mononuclear phagocytes, and hepatocytes are main targets of infection, and IHC showed an association of cellular damage with vital infection. The finding of abundant viral antigens and particles in the skin of EHF patients suggests an epidemiologic role for contact transmission. IHC testing of formalin-fixed skin specimens is a safe, sensitive, and specific method for laboratory diagnosis of EHF and should be useful for EHF surveillance and prevention.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journal of Infectious Diseases|
|Issue number||SUPPL. 1|
|State||Published - Mar 1 1999|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases