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Jeremy Chrisman chrisman at ricochet.net
Tue May 13 11:18:54 EST 1997

debbie armstrong wrote:

> I am a university student doing some research on Ebola and have come
> across
> some information that intreages me and I wonder do you know why in
> the 1976
> Zaire epidemic a very small number of infections were recorded in
> children
> under the age of 10. Is this perhaps because the children have a
> natural
> resistance to the virus? I hope you can help me with this question.
> Regards Debbie Armstrong

 As I understood it the 76 zaire epidemic was complicated by the burial
rites of the people. Not to go too deeply into the details but the
burials envolved the handling of bodily fluids and wastes in preparing
the body. This provided an easy avenue for infection. Though I am by no
means an expert on the customs, it is very possible that children under
the age of 10 were prohibited from participating in the above. Also,
another main avenue of infection was the local hospital whos resources
were extremly poor. Often the same needles were used over and over again
giving a nasty guy like ebola the perfect means for infecting a large
number of people very quickly. I do not think that a childs immune
system would be better able to handle the virus than an adults.

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