Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species. This is not the information on your telly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids.
Right now in West Africa the worst Ebola outbreak in history is in full swing and is jumping borders at an alarming rate. Already it has spread to four countries, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Nigeria. This latest jump into Nigeria is particularly serious since the infected individual carried the virus by plane to Lagos Nigeria, a city with a population of over 21 million. Doctors without borders has referred to the outbreak as “out of control”
A study conducted in 2012 showed that Ebola was able to travel between pigs and monkeys that were in separate cages and were never placed in direct contact.
Though the method of transmission in the study was not officially determined, one of the scientists involved, Dr. Gary Kobinger, from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada, told BBC News that he believed that the infection was spread through large droplets that were suspended in the air.
“What we suspect is happening is large droplets; they can stay in the air, but not long; they don’t go far,” he explained. “But they can be absorbed in the airway, and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way.”
Translation: if you are in a room with someone infected with Ebola, you are not safe, even if you never touch them or their bodily fluids.
This isnt good news if you live in Lagos. I think people should start wearing surgical masks until we are sure the virus is contained. Its better to be safe than sorry.
- Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
- Fatality rate can reach 90%
- Incubation period is two to 21 days
- There is no vaccine or cure
- Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
- Fruit bats are considered to be virus’ natural host
Please watch the informative video below and protect yourself and your loved ones