Via Science Advances: Reduced evolutionary rate in reemerged Ebola virus transmission chains. The abstract and then a comment:
On 29 June 2015, Liberia’s respite from Ebola virus disease (EVD) was interrupted for the second time by a renewed outbreak (“flare-up”) of seven confirmed cases. We demonstrate that, similar to the March 2015 flare-up associated with sexual transmission, this new flare-up was a reemergence of a Liberian transmission chain originating from a persistently infected source rather than a reintroduction from a reservoir or a neighboring country with active transmission.
Although distinct, Ebola virus (EBOV) genomes from both flare-ups exhibit significantly low genetic divergence, indicating a reduced rate of EBOV evolution during persistent infection. Using this rate of change as a signature, we identified two additional EVD clusters that possibly arose from persistently infected sources. These findings highlight the risk of EVD flare-ups even after an outbreak is declared over.
So Ebola appears to leave "sleeper agents" behind, waiting for an opportunity to come out of hiding and spread again. If this is generally true, we will have to start looking at Ebola as truly endemic across West Africa.