Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ebola, It's Not Just For Humans

The thing I haven't heard anyone say anything about is that Ebola infects other mammals. It clearly has some host in Africa that harbors it, although that host is unknown. It infects monkeys. It also infects mice.


The guy they sent home, who was cleaning up after him? Where did they put the paper towels and rags they used? I'm guessing straight in the trash, which went in a dumpster. What are the odds there are no mice or rats in the dumpsters in Dallas? Now maybe it makes mice sick, or kills them, but it might not kill them all. We could already have a situation where we have ebola in a host population that we will not be able to eradicate.

And telling the mice they they have to stay quarantined is going to be even less effective than trying to find and quarantine the exposed people. This genie is out. There are two vaccines in human trials. Keeping this from becoming a major outbreak in the U.S. until the vaccines are available may all we can hope for.

 One last thought. What would eat a mouse? Will a housecat get infected? Apparently, that is an unknown and they may be resistant. Dogs get it, though. And they don't get sick, they just carry it.


Richard Blaine said...

Well aren't you just a fount of Happy.

Good questions all. From what I've been able to determine to date - they can't even get a team to go in and cleanup the house.

Elsie Garton said...

With the rapid mutation rate, how effective would a vaccine be?

Michael Brahier said...

That is a major concern from what I understand.

Dan said...

The primary host in Africa is fruitbats, and the presumed transmission route is by eating poorly-cooked bat soup (apparently something of a delicacy in some places).

Ebola is known to flare up and kill out troops of great apes from time to time, but it doesn't seem to spread beyond them; that would suggest that it won't do so now.