CDC Throws Cold Water on Talk of ‘Airborne’ Ebola Transmission

Hoping to tamp down fears about Ebola, the Obama administration said Monday the virus wreaking havoc in West Africa is unlikely to mutate and spread by air.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a fact sheet that says samples from the current outbreak, which has killed about 5,000 abroad and elicited fear in the U.S., are nearly identical — 97 percent the same — as the strains studied when Ebola was discovered in 1976.

Scientists monitoring the virus have not seen any evidence that Ebola may be mutating in a way that would make it spread more easily, the CDC said, and changes resulting in new forms of transmission would require multiple mutations over a very long period, anyway.

“As if Ebola isn’t a scary enough disease, some people have wondered whether or not Ebola could mutate and become airborne,” the CDC fact sheet says. “Has it become or could it become an even scarier, more deadly, and more easily spread super-bug?

“No. Scientists have not seen any evidence to suggest that the Ebola virus may be mutating to become more contagious or more easily spread.”