Spread of Ebola

The Spread: Here’s Where People Are Being Tested for Ebola (with Results)

The Daily Sheeple
www.TheDailySheeple.com
October 3rd, 2014Ebola-Hospital-Preparatio-494963

Over 114 people have now been or are currently being tested for Ebola in the U.S. With all of the myriad rumors and potential cases of Ebola out there, it’s important to remember that not every single person tested is going to be positive. This article was started in an attempt to list new potential cases, and our staff will update it with results as soon as they come in.

POSITIVE:

Nebraska:

Ashoka Mukpo, the cameraman who contacted Ebola in Liberia while on shoot for NBC News last week, is currently headed for treatment at Nebraska Medical Center’s specialized isolation unit. (source)

Spain:

A Spanish nurse who treated a priest in Madrid who died of Ebola is suspected to be the first case of the disease contracted outside West Africa, media in Spain reported on Monday, citing sources within the country’s health authorities.

Spanish newspaper El Pais and radio Cadena Ser were among those who said the nurse had tested positive for Ebola in initial tests and officials were awaiting final results. (source)

PENDING CASES

Florida:

Local10.com is reporting that a teenager from West Africa was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital on Sunday after exhibiting signs of Ebola, but the city of Miami Beach said preliminary results are negative. The test specimen is being sent to the CDC for a confirmation test.

Delaware:

Fox News is reporting that a patient with Ebola-like symptoms is being treated at a hospital in Delaware.

Missouri:

KCTV 5 News is reporting that officials at the Kansas City Health Department are currently monitoring a patient for “a contagious virus,” but it is “extremely unlikely that this person has Ebola because of their travel history and lack of symptoms. It is unknown at this time what the patient is suffering from or if anyone else is sick.”  (source)

Connecticut:

Two Yale University graduate students who have been over in Liberia working to develop an Ebola tracking system for the government will be voluntarily isolating themselves when they return to the U.S. this weekend. (source)

Massachusetts

A patient with a history of travel from West Africa is currently being evaluated under isolation at UMass Memorial Medical Center on Saturday night. Although hospital officials say it is likely not Ebola, they are isolating until tests can confirm this. (source)

Texas

The Dallas Fire-Rescue ambulance crew who transported the man infected with Ebola to the hospital have tested negative for the Ebola virus, according to the City of Dallas.

The City of Dallas said Tuesday that the crew took all safety precautions and was isolated and tested following the discovery.

The three members of the ambulance crew are restricted to their homes while their conditions are observed and while the virus’ incubation period passes. (source)

Utah

Health officials are investigating a possible case of Ebola at Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah, it has been confirmed.

The patient, who has not been identified, had recently traveled to a country in Africa where transmission of the Ebola virus has not yet been reported, chief of pediatric infectious diseases Dr Andrew Pavia told a press conference.

He said the patient was admitted on Wednesday and insists it is unlikely they have the deadly virus.

Tests taken today have been sent to the CDC’s headquarters for evaluation as part of the hospital’s test. (source)

Iowa

News has been circulating via a comment on YouTube from a supposed Iowa hospital worker that a child under observation at a nearby hospital had been tested for Ebola, results forthcoming. The worker was reportedly told along with staff to expect a positive result and react accordingly.

No word on the child, but a story was published on KCCI 8 News out of Des Moines that went out yesterday began with this:

People continue to email and call KCCI on Thursday saying they’ve head of Ebola patients in a Des Moines hospital.

The rumors are false, health officials said.

“IDPH confirms there are no cases of #Ebola in Iowa. Social media reports of Ebola in Iowa are untrue,” wrote Iowa Department of Public Health on Twitter. (source)

Interesting because the YouTube comment did not mention confirmed Ebola patients. It only mentioned that a child suspected of possibly having Ebola had been tested for it…

Virginia

Two patients in Virginia were tested for Ebola after displaying possible symptoms, however state health officials believe they do not have the virus.

The two Virginians met the travel criteria identified by the Centers for Disease Control, NBC12 has learned.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, one patient is from northwest Virginia. The other patient tested is from eastern Virginia. The tests as of late Friday have not indicated the Ebola virus in either patients. The Department of Health said Friday there are no confirmed cases of the deadly virus in the Commonwealth.

Both patients were isolated from the general population, but were not ordered to be quarantined. The patients had traveled to an area impacted by the Ebola virus and displayed symptoms which are similar to those infected, according to health officials. The patients were isolated and tested. Preliminary results indicated they do not have Ebola. (source)

Florida

A man in Sarasota is in the hospital this morning, getting treatment for Ebola-like symptoms.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital says the patient recently traveled here from West Africa and showed up to the emergency room in Sarasota. The patient was kept in isolation and evaluated by emergency medicine and infectious disease specialists. Hospital officials say the it is “highly unlikely” that the man has the Ebola virus.

They say he did not actually visit any high-risk Ebola countries, and he didn’t meet the CDC criteria for Ebola testing. The hospital reported the case to the Florida Department of Health, and it’s not clear if any further testing will be done. (source)

NEGATIVE CASES

 Canada:

A patient at a Toronto hospital is being tested for Ebola as well as other possible illnesses.

Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN) confirmed a patient who had recently traveled to West Africa was admitted to one of its four hospitals with a fever, but wouldn’t say which hospital or what West African country.

The person is in isolation and staff are using protective equipment until the test results are in – likely within the next 24 hours. (source)

UPDATE: The Toronto patient has tested negative for the Ebola virus, the University Health Network confirmed early Saturday.

Washington, D.C.

A patient with Ebola-like symptoms is being treated at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., a hospital spokesperson confirmed late Friday morning.The patient had traveled to Nigeria recently.

That person has been admitted to the hospital in stable condition, and is being isolated and tested. The medical team is working with the CDC to determine whether the patient has Ebola. (source)

UPDATES: The D.C. Department of Health and the CDC have announced that the D.C. patient under observation for potential Ebola infection has tested negative.

The second patient thought to possibly have Ebola in the D.C. area at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville also tested negative. It was actually not Ebola, but malaria.

Hawaii

A possible Ebola virus case has surfaced in Hawaii, where a patient is in isolation and undergoing tests, the Hawaii Health Department said.

“We are early in the investigation of a patient, very, very early, who we’re investigating that might have Ebola. It’s very possible that they do and they have Ebola. I think it’s also more likely that they have another condition that presents with similar symptoms,” said Dr. Melissa Viray, deputy state epidemiologist told KHON-TV, Honolulu. She added the public need not be concerned, reinforcing that the situation remains only a possible case of the Ebola virus. (source)

UPDATE: The Hawaii State Department of Health said Thursday it had ruled out the possibility that a patient isolated at a Honolulu hospital has the Ebola virus.

The patient, an unidentified man, was admitted to the Queen’s Medical Center on Wednesday after experiencing what hospital officials called “possible symptoms that may be consistent with Ebola.”

Early Thursday morning, the United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said the isolated patient was not tested for Ebola because his symptoms did not match those typically associated with the virus. The State Department of Health followed that sentiment several hours later, when it confirmed that the individual was “no longer under evaluation for possible Ebola infection.” (source)

Georgia

The Cobb County Jail is no longer accepting inmates after an inmate developed a fever. The man told jail officials that he recently traveled to Africa.

Jail officials confirm to Channel 2′s Ross Cavitt that the inmate is being tested for Ebola.

The man was arrested overnight for DUI. (source)

UPDATE: Initial test results for an inmate at the Cobb County Jail for the Ebola virus have come back negative, according to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department.

Maryland

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Montgomery County, Maryland has confirmed they are treating a patient “that presented with flu-like symptoms and a travel history that matches criteria for possible Ebola.”

They claim to have implemented CDC safety measures. No confirmed diagnosis as of 4:35 PM CST 09/03/2014. (source)

UPDATE: Officials at one of the hospitals, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, determined late Friday that their patient had malaria, not Ebola, hospital officials said in a statement late Friday.

 

New Jersey

A United Airlines flight from Brussels was met by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey after a passenger on board believed to be from Liberia exhibited possible signs of Ebola.

The passenger, who was vomiting on the plane, was traveling with his daughter. Both were escorted off the plane by by CDC members in Hazmat gear.

UPDATE: Fresh reports out now state this patient does not have Ebola but an unrelated illness.

 

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21st Century Plague: Ebola

The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. A small number of cases in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, have been associated with a man from Liberia who traveled to Lagos and died from Ebola, but the virus does not appear to have been widely spread in Nigeria. The case in Senegal is related to a man who traveled there from Guinea.

On 9/30/2014, CDC confirmed, the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola within the United States. CDC is working with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate technical assistance and control activities with partners. CDC has also deployed teams of public health experts to West Africa and will continue to send experts to the affected countries.

Recently:

October 5, 2014: Ebola Contact Tracing, Dallas, Texas
October 5, 2014: What You Need To Know About Ebola
October 4, 2014: Update: Sick airline passenger, Newark

Outbreak Update

    On 9/30/2014, CDC confirmed, the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States.

    New cases have been reported from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Nigeria and Senegal have not reported any new cases since September 5, 2014, and August 29, 2014, respectively. In Senegal, all contacts have now completed their 21-day follow up, with no further cases of Ebola reported.
    On August 29, 2014, Senegal’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Affairs announced a case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Senegal. The case is in a man from Guinea who traveled to Senegal.

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported cases of Ebola. These cases are not related to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. For information on the outbreak in DRC, see the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in DRC page.

    HHS has contracted with Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. to develop and manufacture ZMapp. Mapp Biopharmaceutical will manufacture a small amount of the drug for early stage clinical safety studies and nonclinical studies.

    NIH will begin initial human testing of an investigational vaccine to prevent EVD in early September and is working with a company to develop an antiviral drug to treat Ebola.

    U.S. Department of Defense has funded two companies that are developing drug therapies for Ebola and is working with another company to develop an Ebola vaccine.

    CDC returned a staff member from West Africa by charter flight after the employee had low-risk contact with an international health worker who recently tested positive for Ebola. The CDC staff member was not sick with Ebola, did not show symptoms of the disease, and therefore posed no risk to friends, family, co-workers, or the public.

The above has several excerpts from the CDC.

Basically we have thousands infected in Africa at the moment.

Disease modelers project a rapidly rising toll from Ebola

If spread continues at the current rate, a model by Alessandro Vespignani and colleagues projects close to 10,000 Ebola infections by 24 September. (The shaded area provides the projection's variability range.)

 

A. Vespignani

If spread continues at the current rate, a model by Alessandro Vespignani and colleagues projects close to 10,000 Ebola infections by 24 September. (The shaded area provides the projection’s variability range.)

Vespignani is not the only one trying to predict how the unprecedented outbreak will progress. Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the number of cases could ultimately exceed 20,000. And scientists across the world are scrambling to create computer models that accurately describe the spread of the deadly virus. Not all of them look quite as bleak as Vespignani’s. But the modelers all agree that current efforts to control the epidemic are not enough to stop the deadly pathogen in its tracks.  http://news.sciencemag.org/health/2014/08/disease-modelers-project-rapidly-rising-toll-ebola

The World Health Organization – a United Nations group – sees it pretty badly as well.

World Health Organization researchers issued a dire new forecast for the Ebola epidemic Tuesday, one that sees 20,000 cases by November, much sooner than previous estimates. And 70 percent of patients are dying.

That’s a big increase over the previous estimates of a 50 percent fatality rate.

“These data indicate that without drastic improvements in control measures, the numbers of cases of and deaths from Ebola virus disease are expected to continue increasing from hundreds to thousands per week in the coming months,” the WHO Ebola Response Team, led by Dr. Christopher Dye, wrote in a report rushed into print by the New England Journal of Medicine. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/ebola-death-rate-70-percent-who-says-dire-new-forecast-n209226

This morning (or late last night) a nurse in Spain was diagnosed with Ebola.  She was a caregiver to two priests whom had contracted the disease, and subsequently died from the infection.  As of an hour ago, her husband has been placed in isolation by the Spanish government, along with at least two other individuals believed to have been working with the nurse at some point.  It is unclear whether they are medical workers or other people that were just in contact with her.

In recent days, a person in Hawaii was placed into isolation and tested for Ebola.  That turned out to be negative.

Yesterday a cameraman was brought to Omaha Nebraska for treatment.

At least 100 people are said to have been in direct contact with Mr. Duncan, the traveler from Liberia who showed up in Dallas the other day with Ebola.  He has taken a turn for the worse and is in critical condition as of today.  His “family” – a girlfriend (apparently) and her children we believe have been moved to a nice, new home and placed in isolation (under government orders), complete with armed guards.  The apartment was cleaned yesterday.  The cleaning company owner stated he didn’t “know what would happen with the contaminated materials” and that was up to the “government”.

Obama has consistently refused to deny entry to the United States by people traveling from Ebola-stricken countries.  Congress has yet to be heard from.

Various Department of Homeland Security Agencies are acting up, acting out, or simply asleep at the wheel.

Epidemics spread because people don’t wash their hands or take other precautions.  Ebola allegedly spreads by “close contact” with individuals who are infected, because of bodily fluids.

It’s funny how the government, in trying to prevent a panic has not stopped lying about passing viruses.  First it was “not air borne” and then it was “You have to have contact with bodily fluids:.  Then we see where Mr. Duncan vomited all over a street outside the apartment complex, inside the complex, in his bed, the bathroom, on the floor.  And then inside an ambulance.  And the EMT personnel had NO IDEA IT WAS EBOLA.  They are in isolation.  The people who rode around in the ambulance (a homeless man for instance) walked away without knowing. (He has been found and apparently he too is in isolation).

Now, if you have a cold, the cold VIRUS eventually destroys the cells it takes over and you spew out virus inside of droplets you cough or sneeze out.

One of the symptoms of ebola is a “cough” (look it up for yourself, don’t believe me).  Ebola is a virus.  Ebola takes over cells in your body to replicate itself.  Ebola then destorys the cell.  How do you think that ebola is passed from person to person?

Through “bodily fluids”. Most LIKELY from droplets coughed/sneezed out of the body.  Viruses, like all other forms of life are difficult to kill off.  Usually viruses will remain viable for years because they are wrapped in a shell that protects them from the environment, until they can get inside a receptive host.

Ebola… is, pardon the pun, nothing to sneeze about.  This could be the final plague of the planet.

And no, I am not attempting to scaremonger.  The information in this article is factual, all check-able, and not opinion (except my statement about the “Final Plague” of course.  In truth, a plague, like the Black Plague (Bubonic Plague) passed through the population due to poor hygienic conditions, fleas and dirty people.

Colds routinely pass rapidly through a population in America, and people carry viruses aboard aircraft from coast to coast daily.

 Influenza (flu) also passed through the population in the US rather quickly.

Along with Ebola, America has a serious threat already here, already spreading and affecting dozens of children.  Enterovirus D-68.  This virus has already killed one child and affected many others.  According to other news articles at least five people have actually died, while the media makes a huge point of saying “one”.  So… more lies? (http://sharylattkisson.com/polio-like-outbreak-claims-fifth-life-in-u-s?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SharylAttkisson+%28Sharyl+Attkisson%29)

There are more than 100 known varieties of non-polio enteroviruses in the world, and they cause 10 to 15 million infections every year, ranging from the common cold (rhinovirus), to hand, foot, and mouth disease (coxsackie), to meningitis and gastrointestinal illness. Enteroviruses are harbored in the GI tract, but they can cause symptoms all over the body depending on strain. (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/03/6-things-all-parents-should-know-about-enterovirus-d68/)

Poliovirus (aka Polio) is also an enterovirus.

 On Fox News, right now as this is being written, a doctor is telling us that indeed viruses, including ebola can live for SEVERAL hours allowing others to contact it, and perhaps contract the disease.

As a point of reference refer back to Mr. Duncan, the Liberian, who came here deliberately with the disease knowing full well he had contracted it and lied to authorities in an effort to ensure his survival, vomiting all over the apartment, the bedding, the outside street, the inside of the ambulance and quite probably the inside of the hospital.

Potentially thousands have been exposed to Ebola.  All it will take is ONE PERSON to remain undiagnosed out on the streets, in contact with others.  One person.

While a cold or the flu can kill, usually it doesn’t.  Flu can kill people in weakened condition, the young, the elderly.

Ebola kills 90% of the people it infects, in horrible ways.  Young, Old, middle aged, everyone.  90%.

Ebola isn’t called “Hemorrhagic Fever” for nothing.

Never mind “The Stand”, this stuff is Stephen King’s Nightmare.

 

Ebola: KY, GA, DC and TX

In addition to Texas (Dallas), reports are coming in from Kentucky, Georgia and DC of patients in isolation with signs/symptoms of Ebola.

http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/26697806/dc-hospital-treating-patient-presenting-with-symptoms-that-could-be-associated-with-ebola (DC)

http://www.inquisitr.com/1515054/ebola-two-people-in-kentucky-may-also-have-contracted-the-deadly-virus/ (KY)

http://www.ibtimes.com/us-ebola-outbreak-possible-ebola-patients-being-monitored-dc-hospital-georgia-jail-1699182 (GA)

 

Folks…. this is important.  Read it.  No, I’m not scaremongering, I want people to understand the gravity of the situation.  The fact is the government is now saying things like “Fear is dangerous” and “don’t panic”.  If you have a clue you won’t PANIC anyway, you will PREPARE.  That’s all I want to do, convince folks to PREPARE.  Don’t go nuts, don’t buy everything in the store, don’t mortgage your house for food and water, BUT PREPARE to stay inside awhile.

The government isn’t GOING TO HELP YOU IF YOU GET SICK.  There are four people who we KNOW have been exposed, locked  in an apartment complex, they aren’t getting treatment, and the place is JUST NOW being cleaned today.  That’s BAD NEWS.  They’ve spent several days exposed to the germs inside the apartment.  BAD NEWS.  Dead people walking.

So read the rest of what I wrote awhile ago for another site:

BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

People CAN BE INFECTED, HAVE NO SYMPTOMS and BE CONTAGIOUS.

Several diseases are like that.

Signs and symptoms of Ebola usually begin suddenly with an influenza-like stage characterized by fatigue, fever, headaches, joint, muscle, and abdominal pain

Vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are also common.

Less common symptoms include the following: sore throat, chest pain, hiccups, shortness of breath, and trouble swallowing.

The average time between contracting the infection and the start of symptoms (incubation period) is 8 to 10 days, but it can vary between 2 and 21 days.

Skin manifestations may include a maculopapular rash (in about 50% of cases).

Early symptoms of EVD may be similar to those of malaria, dengue fever, or other tropical fevers, before the disease progresses to the bleeding phase.


Now, read this part VERY CLOSELY:

Transmission

Human-to-human transmission can occur via direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from an infected person (including embalming of an infected dead person) or by contact with objects contaminated by the virus, particularly needles and syringes.

Other body fluids with ebola virus include saliva, mucus, vomit, feces, sweat, tears, breast milk, urine, and semen. Entry points include the nose, mouth, eyes, or open wounds, cuts and abrasions.

The potential for widespread EVD infections is considered low as the disease is only spread by direct contact with the secretions from someone who is showing signs of infection.

The symptoms limit a person’s ability to spread the disease as they are often too sick to travel.

Because dead bodies are still infectious, local traditional burial rituals may spread the disease.

Nearly two thirds of the cases of Ebola in Guinea during the 2014 outbreak are believed to be due to burial practices.

Semen may be infectious in survivors for up to 3 months.

It is not entirely clear how an outbreak is initially started.

The initial infection is believed to occur after ebola virus is transmitted to a human by contact with an infected animal’s body fluids.

The cameraman and the crew all followed standard procedures to prevent infection. It didn’t help him. He’s sick and infected. How did he become infected? Dirty water? Touching something?

Whether they want to admit it or not, the family in quarantine are dead people walking.

Finally, we have this:

Airborne transmission has not been documented during EVD outbreaks. They are, however, infectious as breathable 0.8– to 1.2-μm laboratory-generated droplets. The virus has been shown to travel, without contact, from pigs to primates, although the same study failed to demonstrate similar transmission between non-human primates.

So, they are lying about ebola not being passed in the air.  The following article is NOT about ebola, but passing of viruses via coughing and sneezing.  Ebola has coughing and sneezing, just like colds.  It’s a VIRUS.  Viruses can’t be killed with antibiotics and aspirin.

Infectious Droplets From Coughs And Sneezes Travel Much Farther Than Previously Believed; Germs Spread By ‘Gas Clouds’

By Lecia Bushak | Apr 8, 2014 06:40 PM EDT

Researchers have now found that covering your mouth during a sneeze may not do much to prevent droplets from spreading: they are suspended by a gas cloud that allows them to travel farther than previously estimated.

Casually covering a sneeze with your hand may not really stop the germs from spreading.

A new study conducted by researchers at Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that coughs and sneezes actually have “gas clouds,” also dubbed “multiphase turbulent buoyant clouds,” that spread infectious droplets out much farther than previously believed.

Suspended in a gas cloud, droplets from a cough or sneeze billow farther out as opposed to staying in one enclosed area, near the sneezing person’s mouth. It’s similar to smoke emerging from a smokestack, the researchers note.

“When you cough or sneeze, you see the droplets, or feel them if someone sneezes on you,” John Bush, a professor of applied mathematics at MIT and a co-author of the study, said in a press release. “But you don’t see the cloud, the invisible gas phase. The influence of this gas cloud is to extend the range of the individual droplets, particularly the small ones.”

The study found smaller droplets that are produced by sneezes or coughs can actually travel 5 to 200 times further than if they moved as “groups of unconnected particles,” which researchers had previously assumed. These so-called gas clouds are able to keep smaller particles suspended in the air, and more likely to float around rather than get caught behind your hand.

In the study, researchers used high-speed imaging to capture droplets and gas clouds of coughs and sneezes. They paired that with laboratory stimulations and mathematical modeling to better analyze how these droplets move after being projected into the air. They will now continue research in order to better understand how the pathogens being carried by the droplets move — and where exactly they go.

“The cloud entrains ambient air into it and continues to grow and mix,” Lydia Bourouiba, assistant professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a co-author of the study, said in the press release. “But as the cloud grows, it slows down, and so is less able to suspend the droplets within it. You thus cannot model this as isolated droplets moving ballistically.”

The authors conclude that contamination in the air is possible in a much more direct route than previously assumed. Who knew that examining fluid-mechanics was so important in analyzing a sneeze.

Evidence from 2012 Ebola CAN be transmitted in the air

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-20341423

 

Growing concerns over ‘in the air’ transmission of Ebola

Ebola virus
The infection is thought to get into humans through close contact with bodily fluids

Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species.

In experiments, they demonstrated that the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them.

The researchers say they believe that limited airborne transmission might be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa.

They are concerned that pigs might be a natural host for the lethal infection.

“Start Quote

What we suspect is happening is large droplets – they can stay in the air, but not long, they don’t go far. But they can be absorbed in the airway”

Dr Gary Kobinger Public Health Agency of Canada

Ebola viruses cause fatal haemorrhagic fevers in humans and many other species of non human primates.

Details of the research were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope.

The fruit bat has long been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and domestic, could be a hidden source of Ebola Zaire – the most deadly form of the virus.

Now, researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country’s Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species.

In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised.

One possibility is that the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.

pigs could be a natural host
Pigs could act as a host and amplify the Ebola virus

One of the scientists involved is Dr Gary Kobinger from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He told BBC News this was the most likely route of the infection.

“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.”

The scientists say that their findings could explain why some pig farmers in the Philippines had antibodies in their system for the presence of a different version of the infection called Ebola Reston. The farmers had not been involved in slaughtering the pigs and had no known contact with contaminated tissues.

Dr Kobinger stresses that the transmission in the air is not similar to influenza or other infections. He points to the experience of most human outbreaks in Africa.

“The reality is that they are contained and they remain local, if it was really an airborne virus like influenza is it would spread all over the place, and that’s not happening.”

Hidden hostThe authors believe that more work needs to be done to clarify the role of wild and domestic pigs in spreading the virus. There have been anecdotal accounts of pigs dying at the start of human outbreaks. Dr Kobinger believes that if pigs do play a part, it could help contain the virus.

“If they do play a role in human outbreaks it would be a very easy point to intervene” he said. “It would be easier to vaccinate pigs against Ebola than humans.”

Ebola Uganda
Workers prepare to disinfect during a recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda

Other experts in the field were concerned about the idea that Ebola was susceptible to being transmitted by air even if the distance the virus could travel was limited. Dr Larry Zeitlin is the president of Mapp Biopharmaceuticals.

“It’s an impressive study that not only raises questions about the reservoir of Ebola in the wild, but more importantly elevates concerns about ebola as a public health threat,” he told BBC News. “The thought of airborne transmission is pretty frightening.”

At present, an outbreak of ebola in Uganda has killed at least two people near the capital Kampala. Last month, Uganda declared itself Ebola-free after an earlier outbreak of the disease killed at least sixteen people in the west of the country.