Despite assurances from the Center for Disease Control, Ebola has gone airborne before according to a report in Canada’s equivalent of the CDC and in a Reston, VA governmental facility in 1989.
A report by Public Health Agency of Canada has shown that in some cases Ebola can be made to go airborne, writing, “…non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected..”
In 1989 a mutated Ebola virus spread throughout of a Reston, VA medical lab. The outbreak infected monkeys in separate rooms using the ventilation system. “Four workers showed bloodstream evidence of infection, although none developed symptoms related to the virus’s presence in their bodies,” The Washington Post’s David Brown later reported in 1995.
Brown reported in an article for the Post titled, “Ebola Virus: A Mystery With a Deadly Plot,” about just how little is know about the virus or how it spreads.
The tropics seem to be its home range. The first epidemic, like the latest, occurred in Zaire, where 318 persons became ill in 1976 and 88 percent died. The second outbreak (284 cases, 53 percent mortality, also in 1976) occurred in far drier southern Sudan, so jungle environments don’t appear to be essential.
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Researchers have not discounted airborne transmission of Ebola virus, though it seems unlikely to be a major route of infection. Ebola doesn’t behave like influenza virus, which is almost always spread by respiratory “aerosols” — microscopic droplets or aggregations of virus and dust that can hover in the air for hours. But it probably doesn’t behave like HIV either, for which no respiratory transmission has been documented.
Studies of the 1976 Zairean outbreak found infections in people who had no direct contact with the ill or the dead. In at least one of the Reston outbreaks, monkeys in one room infected monkeys in another room with whom they had no physical contact. Ebola virus aerosols made in the laboratory have infected both monkeys and guinea pigs.
Deadliness, however, may not always be in Ebola virus’s nature. The Zaire, Sudan and Reston strains of the pathogen differ substantially in their DNA fingerprints, although all are clearly Ebola. The African strains kill more than half their victims. None of the four people infected with the Reston strain even got sick.
The media, the CDC, and not a few scientists are pushing the idea that Ebola can’t go airborne but we don’t really know much about Ebola in the first place.
— Gabrielle Canon (@GabrielleCanon) September 30, 2014
The Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy also recommends wearing respirators because of the threat of airborne Ebola.
— Alexander Macris (@archon) September 24, 2014
Ebola may also have already come to the Western hemisphere.
On May 18, 1995, Canada’s The Globe and Mail reported on a Zaire man from an Ebola-stricken area who flew to Toronto during an outbreak. Though the Canadian officials were wont to say he was sick, they kept him under a 21-day hospital surveillance period.