Purdue professor says Ebola 'primed' to go airborne

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The first case of Ebola transmitted between patients in America has experts across the country reviewing safety protocols.

At Purdue University, Dr. David Sanders has been studying the virus since 2003 – specifically how this particular Zaire strain of Ebola enters human cells.

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While the virus has thus far only been shown to be transferred via bodily fluids, Sanders argues that it could become airborne.

"It can enter the lung from the airway side," Sanders said. "So this argues that Ebola is primed to have respiratory transmission.

"We need to be taking this into consideration," he continued. "What if? This is not a crazy, 'What if?' This is not a wild, 'What if?'"

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Sanders said the longer the virus spread and mutates, the more likely airborne transmission will become. He also said that's why it's critical to suppress the outbreak in Africa to prevent a worldwide spread.

Sanders said it's impossible to know how many Americans could contract Ebola, or how much longer this outbreak could last. But, he said, the danger is still very low for the average American.

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