Now researchers have confirmed how long those bodies can be contagious. The Ebola virus can survive for up to a week in a dead primate.
“As long as the virus is viable then there shouldn’t be any difference between a live body and a dead body,” head researcher Vincent Munster, a virus ecologist at the National Institute of Health, tells Goats and Soda. His findings will be published in May in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Ebola isn’t the only virus that can linger after death.
“Just because a body dies, it doesn’t mean that all cells die simultaneously,” says Alan Schmaljohn, a microbiology and immunology professor at the University of Maryland, who is unaffiliated with the study. Viruses continue to reproduce, although the total number of viral cells decreases exponentially as the body decays.