Ebola transmission from dead patients possible: Study

A new study has revealed that the deadly Ebola virus can survive for as long as seven days on the bodies of patients died of Ebola, highlighting the dangerous spread of infection.

Last Updated: Feb 13, 2015, 18:33 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

New York: A new study has revealed that the deadly Ebola virus can survive for as long as seven days on the bodies of patients died of Ebola, highlighting the dangerous spread of infection.

The study was conducted by scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In the study, scientists sampled five deceased Ebola-infected monkeys and they discovered that the virus remained viable for at least seven days. This means that transmission from deceased persons is possible for an extended period after death.

They also found non-infectious viral RNA for up to 70 days post-mortem.

To assess the stability of the virus post-mortem, scientists placed the bodies in a chamber to mimic environmental conditions in West Africa.

Further, the scientists also sampled seven different body surfaces. They then removed tissue from four internal organs and measured the amount of live Ebola virus and viral RNA where they compared test results at various times.

Scientists discovered that live virus was detectable in surface swabs up to seven days after death, and in the tissue samples up to three days post-mortem. Viral RNA was detectable in several swab and tissue types for up to 10 weeks.

The West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were worst hit by the Ebola outbreak.

According to the latest WHO figures, Ebola virus has infected 22,525 people, with deaths reaching 9,004.

WHO and health experts have warned people about having direct contact with victims as this has worsened the spread of the virus.

The study was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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