The study population consisted of six Rhesus monkeys, two were “lucky” and four were not: reason being that two monkeys were not exposed to the virus at all. However the four chosen monkeys were inoculated with varying doses of airborne Ebolavirus. Those that received a relatively low dose of the virus had exactly the same outcome as those that received the higher dose: a speedy and torturous death (within 4-5 days of exposure). These research scientists were puzzled at why Ebola spread so effectively in the laboratory airborne environment but didn’t seem to have the same effect in the hot and humid native environment. However, what they finally concluded may shock you! Here are there findings:
“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 wattel 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)… If the same holds true for filoviruses, aerosol transmission is a greater threat in modern hospital or laboratory settings than it is in the natural climatic ranges of viruses.”
Thus, as the rainy season draws to a close in Sub-Saharan Africa, this November, and humidity levels drop we could see a tremendous increase in Ebola transmission. Why? Because the virus can, and does, travel via the airborne route, just not so well in hot and humid places. Can you name a few more environments, besides hospitals and laboratories, as the researchers mentioned, that are cooler and less humid? The answer to this question should prompt us to instant sobriety… This would be just about anywhere humans congregate in westernized countries: climate controlled building (including grocery stores, shopping malls, movie theaters, etc.), modern methods of transit (jetliners, automobiles, buses, etc.), and many other places besides! What does this all mean? Take home message is that, especially come this winter, the Ebola pandemic may be much more than we are bargaining for… The politicians and public health officials may be telling half of the story... But dead monkeys don’t lie.
The time to prepare is now. Get the facts. Get healthy. Get Prebola©!
(2) Int. J. Exp. Path. (1995), 76, 227-236