Saturday, December 1, 2012

Newsflash: Airborne Ebola?

Remember when I cited Ebola as a sign that there was not a loving God? It turns out that it was a lot worse than I thought. Thanks in large part to conspiracy theorists believing that the elite are using human populations in Africa to test out biological weapons, this little gem found its way onto my screen:

"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.

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.

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." - Source. More there.

So, basically, it turns out that pigs can carry Ebola too, and they might be able to get it through minimal contact with exhaled bodily fluids. Bear in mind that pigs are also very susceptible to respiratory infections.

This is another reason why one should watch where one's meats come from. Pigs can carry a lot of human diseases, not just Ebola, because they are so biologically-similar to humans. We eat them and make medicine out of them. We also ship them everywhere - not all farms are in the U.S. Pigs are already pretty bad environmentally; this is one nasty addition to the damage they can do.

That said, I do wonder why this hasn't been publicized more. Ebola's kind of a big deal.

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