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By Tara C. Smith, Edward I. Alcamo

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Extra resources for Ebola

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A BSL-1 laboratory can work on pathogens that have been shown not to be harmful to humans. No special precautions are needed, though gloves and a lab coat are recommended. • BSL-2 laboratories are used for pathogens that may pose a risk to humans. q 30 3/7/08 1:08 PM Page 30 EBOLA be performed within a biological containment hood, in order to minimize aerosols (mixtures of liquid and gas) that may be generated when using certain procedures (for example, mixing samples). Gloves, lab coats, and other protective equipment (such as goggles or occasionally masks) must be worn.

Scientists do not know whether Ebola is airborne or whether it is transmitted by intermediate vectors in the wild. A vector is an intermediate host, such as an arthropod, which carries the pathogen from the reservoir host to the susceptible victim. Viruses such as yellow fever and dengue, both of which also can cause hemorrhagic fevers, are transmitted via arthropod vectors. In the case of those viruses, mosquitoes carry and transmit the diseases. Several lines of evidence point to the possibility of insect vectors playing a role in the transmission of Ebola viruses in the wild.

2 Workers in a biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory must carry out their work dressed in “space suits,” and undergo extensive decontamination prior to returning to pathogen-free areas. Those who work in these labs do research on the most deadly agents known to mankind. q 32 3/7/08 1:08 PM Page 32 EBOLA (continued from page 29) an attempt to produce airborne Ebola—a possible biological weapon (see Chapter 7 for further information). This outbreak (and a subsequent outbreak of Ebola Reston among monkeys imported from the Philippines to Italy in 1992) led officials in the United States to modify the procedures used for the transport and quarantine of nonhuman primates (monkeys and great apes; humans are also a member of the order Primata, and as such, are also classified as primates).

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