News about Ebola has gone quiet in the last couple of months. Things changed on Thursday Feb. 12 when a team or researchers from the National Institute of Health in Hamilton, Montana presented the results of a new study. The study says that the Ebola virus housed in dead bodies remains infectious for a week.
Up until now, things were clear about not getting close to a person diagnosed with Ebola as the virus spread through droplets in the air. The droplets are propelled in the nearby atmospherically zone through sneezing, talking, laughing etc.
Everyone was made aware of the fact that the sicker the person, the more powerful the virus. So it was evident that after the person’s death, the virus is at its maximum potency. What was unknown was the period during which the virus remained infectious. The study revealed that for a period of 7 days, the virus could still be caught by someone close to the body. The study also revealed that the virus can be detected after a maximum of 10 weeks post-mortem.
According to the team’s findings, the virus remains in the victims organs for 3 days and in their blood for about a week post-mortem. Ebola can be detected even 10 weeks post-mortem because of the presence of the virus’ RNA which is not infectious.
This study strengthens the need for vigilance during the funeral process of Ebola victims (both the funeral preparations and the burying). At the beginning of the West African Ebola outbreak, people got infected due to the contact they had with the victim during the funeral process.
There are many traditions regarding the passing of a loved one in all of the three affected countries. Some of them involve kissing the corpse before burial. In Liberia, the deceased also needs to be washed before the actual ceremony.
The results are of course available for both humans and animals as the infection can easily cross species. So the warning is also in regards to people, especially researchers who might come into contact with animals who supposedly died from being infected with the Ebola virus.
Image Source: Irish Times