The deadly virus can survive for more than seven weeks on certain surfaces according to research conducted by the UK’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory.
Tests performed prior to the latest Ebola outbreak in 2010 showed the Zaire strain lived in samples in low temperatures on glass for nearly two months.
The results were published in a paper by Sophie Smither and her colleagues at the laboratory. Titled “The survival of filoviruses in liquids, on solid substrates and in a dynamic aerosol,” the study details the results of tests on two filovirus strains, the Lake Victoria marburgvirus and Zaire ebolavirus.
The viruses were placed into guinea pig tissue samples and tested for their ability to survive in different liquids and on different surfaces at various temperatures. Three samples stored at 39 degrees Fahrenheit were recovered after 26 days from glass and plastic surfaces. The Zaire strain of Ebola was active after 50 days.
“This study has demonstrated that ﬁloviruses are able to survive and remain infectious, for extended periods when suspended within liquid and dried onto surfaces,” said the researchers.
The report concludes that aerosolized filovirvuses “pose a significant threat to humans, as they are able to remain infectious over a significant period of time.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to insist Ebola does not pose a threat.
“We remain confident that Ebola is not a significant public health threat to the United States,” CDC director Thomas Frieden told a panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month.
“We know Ebola can be stopped with rapid diagnosis, appropriate triage and meticulous infection-control practices in American hospitals.”