The transmission of a strain of Ebola virus from pigs to non-human primates, with no direct contact, is demonstrated in a paper published in Scientific Reports this week. This may represent the first evidence of experimental mammal-to-mammal transmission of Ebola virus and the results could aid prevention and control measures during outbreaks of the virus.
Ebola viruses (EBOV) can cause fatal hemorrhagic fever in several primate species, including humans. Government of Canada researchers show that Zaire EBOV can be transmitted from experimentally infected pigs to macaques without direct contact between the two species. Transmission between macaques in similar housing conditions was not observed. The findings hint that airborne transmission may contribute to the spread of Zaire EBOV, specifically from pigs to macaques, and this may need to be considered when assessing the potential transmission from animals to humans more generally.