Ebola Bodies Are Infectious a Week After Death, Study Shows

TIME

Scientists have known for some time that the closer a person with Ebola is to death, the more infectious they are. A dead body with Ebola has been frequently referred to as a “viral bomb.” But what was unclear was how long bodies remained infectious. Now, researchers working for the National Institutes of Health in Hamilton, Montana released new findings on Thursday showing the Ebola virus may remain infectious in dead bodies for a week, and detectable for 1o weeks.

In the study, the researchers infected five macaque monkeys—a species they believe can serve as models for humans—with Ebola, then eventually euthanized them. They placed the dead monkeys in a temperature- and environment-controlled chamber to simulate the climate of West Africa. Over several weeks, the researchers sampled and swabbed the tissue of their nose, mouth, blood, lung, spleen, liver and muscle.

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