No evidence found of macaques passing deadly virus to each other
Vijay Anand Ismavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); © Andrea Cantú/iNaturalist.org (CC BY-NC)
Monkeys do not pass Ebola to one another through the air, researchers report. The result confirms observations of human outbreaks: Infection with the deadly virus requires contact with bodily fluids.
The study follows up on a 2012 report that raised concerns Ebola might be able to spread by air (SN: 12/15/12, p. 12). That study, led by infectious disease researcher Gary Kobinger of the Public Health Agency of Canada, found that macaques contracted Ebola when housed in cages near a pen containing piglets infected with Ebola. The animals never touched. The researchers said the finding meant that the virus probably floated to the monkeys’ cages as a fine airborne spray of particles shed by the pigs.
Pigs seem to give off more aerosolized viral particles than other species, says Derek Gatherer, a viral evolutionary biologist at Lancaster University in England. “If it’s going to