By SOLA OGUNDIPE
THE Ebola Virus is essentially transmitted from human-to-human through direct contact with infected patients, or through contact with body fluids of a victim. However, scientists are not ruling out the possibility of transmission by air through aerosolised particles.
Previously, Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the Ebola virus (the Zaire Ebola) could be transmitted by air between species. Although no human over-ther-air transmission of the lethal viral disorder has been recorded, but the Patrick Sawyer incidence in Lagos, Nigeria, has reopened worries over the implications of the possibility of its transmission in an enclosed environment such as an aircraft cabin.
Transmissible from pigs to monkeys by air Studies show that the Ebola virus is transmissible to monkeys from infected pigs without them coming into direct contact. The Ebola virus survives for days outside infected hosts and can “ride” on aerosolised droplets to spread to potential victims.
In a demonstration of the infectious dose of the Ebola virus, the Public Health Agency of Canada says 1 – 10 aerosolised organisms are sufficient to cause infection in humans.
In demonstrating the transmission from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them, the scientists housed the pigs carrying the virus in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques (monkeys) were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised.
According to the Canadian Public Health Agency: “The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days. Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4 degrees celsius for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70 degrees celsius . Infectivity can be preserved by lyophilisation.
Hence, it is implied that Ebola viruses can survive for several days on common objects such as door knobs or household surfaces. If an infected Ebola victim runs around touching such common objects after cleaning blood or mucous from his nose, another innocent victim can easily infect himself by touching the same objects and then eating some food that places the virus in his mouth.
Level 4 biohazard
Ebola, considered a level-4 biohazard, is very infectious, requiring special protective biohazard suits, containment Level 4 facilities, equipment, and operational practices for work involving infectious or potentially infectious materials, animals, and cultures. To date, according to the World Health Organisation, the Ebola virus has caused 1,323 cases of the disease and 729 deaths–a mortality rate of 55%