There might be more to Ebola than federal government information brokers want you to know. According to scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., the deadly virus seems to thrive at lower temperatures and in lower humidity.
Three days ago, I came across a 1995 report (PDF) about an Ebola study, titled Lethal experimental infections of Rhesus monkeys by aerosolized Ebola virus. Though nothing in the report’s complex scientific summary (see graphic above) caught my eye, something else did. Temperature — and I’m not talking about skin temperature.
On page 7 of the report, I found this:
We also demonstrated aerosol transmission of Ebola virus at lower temperature and humidity than that normally present in sub-Saharan Africa. Ebola virus sensitivity to the high temperatures and humidity in the thatched, mud, and wattle huts shared by infected family members in southern Sudan and northern Zaire may have been a factor limiting aerosol transmission of Ebola virus in the African epidemics. Both elevated temperature and relative humidity (RH) have been shown to reduce the aerosol stability of viruses (Songer 1967).
“So, if this government study about Ebola is correct,“ I wrote on my Facebook page Saturday, “lower temperatures and lower humidity — as in North American fall and winter conditions — increase the virus’ ability to become airborne. Interesting read.”
Ponder that for a moment, then consider this tidbit I came across today in the Mail Online: Ebola can survive on surfaces for almost TWO MONTHS: Tests reveal certain strains survive for weeks when stored at low temperatures.
So what’s the takeaway from these bits of Ebola-related news you’re not reading about in U.S. news reports? I suppose we will need to: (1) turn up the heat inside our homes this winter; (2) avoid contact with anyone and anything; and, oh yeah, (3) SEAL THE BORDERS!!!
UPDATE 10/30/2014 at 8:09 a.m. Central: Now, the CDC admits droplets from a sneeze could spread Ebola. Thanks for the timely info! < sarc >