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Volume 4, Number 1—March 1998


Ebola/Athens Revisited

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To the Editor: After our hypothesis that the plague of Athens (430 B.C.– 425 B.C.) could have been caused by Ebola virus was published in this journal (1996;2:155-6), it was brought to our attention that this hypothesis had been previously entertained.

Gayle D. Scarrow had published a paper entitled "The Athenian Plague: A Possible Diagnosis" in The Ancient History Bulletin 2.1 (1988). Unfortunately, this had not come to our attention in our literature search, and therefore we assumed that we were the first to recognize the possibility. Clearly, Ms. Scarrow deserves credit for suggesting this first. Her arguments are compelling, even without the support of more recently available information and the observations advanced in our publication.

We believe an evolving knowledge base (e.g., the information about the Côte d'Ivoire outbreak where a protracted epidemic has been meticulously documented) will serve to enhance the credibility of the Ebola/Athens hypothesis.

P.E. Olson*, A.S. Benenson†, and E.N. Genovese†
Author affiliations: *U.S. Navy Balboa Hospital, San Diego, California, USA; †San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA

Suggested citation: Olson PE, Benenson AS, Genovese EN. Ebola/Athens Revisited [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 1998, Mar [date cited]. Available from

DOI: 10.3201/eid0401.980127

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