By Tara C. Smith, Edward I. Alcamo
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Additional resources for Ebola
Thus, similar to the situation with the Ebola Reston virus, it appears that there must be types of Ebola circulating in Africa that cause subclinical disease (disease without symptoms). In addition, a higher percentage of rural dwellers than city dwellers was found to possess antibodies to Ebola. In a separate study, scientists found a higher seroprevalence rate among hunters versus farmers, further suggesting that the reservoir of Ebola lies somewhere in the African forests. Perhaps one day soon, this elusive reservoir will be identified.
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.
They then add serum (the liquid portion of the blood, which contains antibodies) from a suspected patient and allow it to dry. This is the primary antibody. Next, they add a secondary antibody, which will specifically recognize the human antibodies. This secondary antibody (which is often derived from goats) is conjugated (linked) to a protein called fluorescein. When antibodies to Ebola are present, they will bind to the virus or virus particles on the slide. The fluorescein-labeled secondary antibody will then bind to the primary antibodies.
Ebola by Tara C. Smith, Edward I. Alcamo