I am no expert at all but this is an extremely important question as there seems to be a higher rate of infection than what seems potential through the explanation. They have made it sound that it can only, exclusively be passed through direct contact with bodily fluid, yet it seems that the virus is circulating quick enough, even among health care professionals that have taken extensive precautions.
This leaves open professionals and experts that are speculating we could be witnessing the evolution of Ebola into a higher, more infectious and deadly form:
Virologist, Dr. Philip K. Russell who led the Ebola research in the U.S. Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, is on Peters’s side. The fact that many things about the disease are still unknown is something to consider.
“I see the reasons to dampen down public fears,” Russell said. “But scientifically, we’re in the middle of the first experiment of multiple, serial passages of Ebola virus in man. God knows what this virus is going to look like. I don’t.”
‘Unqualified assurances that Ebola is not spread through the air are “misleading”.’
Dr C J Peters, who has undertaken research into Ebola for America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the paper: ‘We just don’t have the data to exclude it [becoming airborne].’
In September, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, writing in the New York Times, said experts who believe that Ebola could become airborne are loathed to discuss their concerns in public, for fear of whipping up hysteria.
Discussing the possible future course of the current outbreak, he said: ‘The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air.’
Dr Osterholm warns viruses similar to Ebola are notorious for replicating and reinventing themselves.
It means the virus that first broke out in Guinea in February may be very different to the one now invading other parts of West Africa.
Pointing to the example of the H1N1 influenza virus that saw bird flu sweep the globe in 2009, Dr Osterholm said: ‘If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola.’
Dr Osterholm said public health officials, while discussing the possibility in private, are reluctant to air their concerns.
He said scientists across the world do not know enough about genetics to be able to say how the Ebola virus will change over time.
Any look at the articles, though, will provide extensive opinion that it is not airborne, and that such a change is highly unlikely. But lest us not forget that such a change will always seem highly unlikely until it is suddenly happening on a notable scale.
While I am definitely not counting on it being a situation where the virus is airborne, I am certainly not feeling particularly secure about the situation, and I feel that the safety meausres in place have been much like everything else that Pres. Obama has done: very slow to come about and only being increased in a very begrudging faction. Some misled sense of political correctness has led to this point.
I think it seems unlikely that such a development as airborne ebola has come, but can it truly be ruled out in an environment when we have seen unprecedented levels of infection spiraling out of control? And it also seems likely that the disease is somehow evolving, and in its evolution the rate of contagion has become greater.
Regardless, we need to pay attention to the story as it unfolds.