In a lengthy document that received nearly no media attention, a U.S. government agency has warned preliminary data shows Ebola is aerostable, meaning it can survive in the air and potentially be transmitted via airborne means.
The document was released in a federal government announcement seeking research proposals from private firms for Ebola treatment and diagnosis tools, including for the rapid disinfection of an “aerosol” version of the virus.
The announcement indicates that despite its public pronouncements to the contrary, the government is concerned the virus can spread through the air via vaporized bodily fluids.
There has been fear a patient can potentially self-vaporize Ebola through a strong sneeze, projectile vomiting or the flushing of a toilet.
The information was contained in a 33-page report released Oct. 24 by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Defense’s Combat Support Agency for countering weapons of mass destruction.
The agency report states “preliminary studies indicate that Ebola is aerostable in an enclosed controlled system in the dark and can survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks.”
The report says the government is seeking technologies for the “rapid disinfection” of Ebola, including an aerosol version of the virus.
“The technology must prove effective against viral contamination either deposited as an aerosol or heavy contaminated combined with body fluids,” reads the solicitation document.
The document further states Ebola “can survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks.”
The information about Ebola being “aerostable” with fears of spreading through “aerosol” apparently contradicts public statements by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states on its website, “Ebola is not spread through the air or by water.”
The CDC has put out conflicting information about the virus being airborne.
In another online Ebola information kit, the CDC asks, “Is Ebola airborne?”
“No,” answers the CDC. “Ebola is not spread through the airborne route nor through water or food.”
“To get Ebola, you have to directly get body fluids (like pee, poop, spit, sweat, vomit, semen, breast milk) from someone who has Ebola in your mouth, nose, eyes or through a break in your skin or through sexual contact,” continues the CDC website.
On another section of its website, however, the CDC is non-committal in its response to whether or not Ebola can be spread by coughing.
The website states:
Unlike respiratory illnesses like measles or chickenpox, which can be transmitted by virus particles that remain suspended in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes, Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids of a person who has symptoms of Ebola disease.
Although coughing and sneezing are not common symptoms of Ebola, if a symptomatic patient with Ebola coughs or sneezes on someone – and saliva or mucus come into contact with that person’s eyes, nose or mouth – the fluids could transmit the disease.
Written by AARON KLEIN
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