Ebola Transmission Possibly Airborne

POTRBlog has been publishing information regarding possible Ebola transmission via an airborne route. I was asked to supply some supporting information when I sent a Tweet about that. In response, I dug up some of POTR’s source info and did some digging of my own.

Here are some noteworthy articles for your reading.

University of Minnesota – Health Workers Needs Optimal Respiratory Protection for Ebola

  • This article discusses how the means for determining the tranmissibility of filoviruses may be based on outdated science. It suggests that these are capable of aerosol transmission, and describe just how.

USAMRIID, Fort Detrick – A Characterization of Aerosolized Sudan Virus

  • Page 2, paragraph 2 – WHY the potential for aerosolization exists.

CDC – Interim Guidance about Ebola Infection for Airline Crews

  • Read the whole thing, but the section about “Guidance for Airline Cleaning Personnel” has suggestions that do cover aerosol transmission.

Takeaway

Being as the Ebola virus does heavily infect epithelial cells, and being as those cells can be found in abundance within our respiratory tracts, it would seem at least possible that the virus, whose transmission properties are admittedly largely unknown, could be transmitted within small droplets during a cough, or subsequent sneeze. There is little to prove otherwise. Because of these points, it is advisable to assume that this virus can be contracted by someone if he is in close proximity to an infected person, and even more so if they are within a small room.

POTRBlog makes a case that this virus might perform differently than usual if it is spreading in a colder winter climate. Why it hasn’t done so up to now might be because it hasn’t left the equatorial regions. There are no migratory avian vectors we know about. Bats and others generally stay put. The people in third world nations where this disease is active don’t migrate afar, either. Lastly, most outbreaks are relatively small.

This outbreak, though, has some legs. Containment was initially horrible, and the virus spread widely. Containment is now difficult due to the area covered. With lock-downs on travel, it might be possible to contain it 100%. But we have seen this is not the case. It now has arrived in the US, and terrorist plans are growing daily as to how to cross the Mexican border with suicide infectors to wage biological war on us here. With a successful multi region infection campaign underway, we very well might be a test bed for colder northern climate theories on Ebola epi /pandemics.

 

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