The dreaded killer disease Ebola passes easily from person to person, but no one knows where it starts. Ebola was discovered in 1976 and infects humans and monkeys. It's caused hundreds of deaths in central Africa, and is fatal 50 to 90% of the time. Now scientists think it may be spread by birds.
The Ebola virus is similar to viruses that attack birds, meaning it could have jumped from birds to humans, the way AIDS did from monkeys to humans. If birds spread the disease, there would be no way to stop it from being carried long distances.
David Sanders says biochemical analysis reveals the protein shell of Ebola is close to that of certain bird retroviruses. This suggests Ebola was once a bird virus and could now be being spread by birds. "We knew these viruses were inwardly similar, and now we see their outer similarity as well," he says. "While bird transmission of Ebola is by no means certain, the resemblance among all these viruses should encourage health officials to be on guard for it."
"It is possible that there is a bird host, possibly a migratory bird, and that is consistent with the epidemiology of the disease," Sanders says. "We haven't found any birds infected by the Ebola virus yet. But birds haven't been examined."
If there?s science news out there, Linda Howe will find out all about it. Keep up with her discoveries in Glimpses of Other Realities Vol. I. This is the first time we?ve offered this book on our store!
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