Bats are being blamed for the Ebola outbreak?!

“The Ebola outbreak in west Africa has so far claimed 2,917 lives, by far the worst outbreak of this horrible illness in history. Epidemiologists are still trying to piece together how it started, and bats keep coming up as a likely source. But unraveling this epidemic is not as simple as blaming bats.

Fruit bats found throughout Africa are thought to be natural hosts for the Ebola virus, and some species are suspected, but not confirmed, to carry Ebola without showing symptoms. How would they infect humans? Through spicy bat soup, for one.

Fruit bat meat (and many other types of bush meat) is a delicacy and important source of nutrition in west Africa, where agricultural sources of protein can be scarce. Epidemiologists think someone may have caught and killed an infected animal (probably a bat), handled its blood or other bodily fluids, and thereby contracted Ebola.

Suspicion of bats stems from a 2005 survey in central Africa, where researchers sampled bats, birds and ground animals to find a natural reservoir — an animal where the virus can hang out without killing its host. They found Ebola in three species of fruit bat. But no one can say for sure whether the bats provide Ebola with safe harbor; the only way to tell would be to look much more closely.

ebolavirion

In Africa and many other places, bats are viewed with suspicion and superstition when they’re not being eaten as a delicacy. This leads to over-hunting and poaching, causing bat populations to decline precipitously.”

Personally, I believe, even though these various species of bats may be making humans sick, they should not be purposely eliminated. Removing them intentionally not only is animal cruelty but it also impacts other species, including plants and animals that rely on bats as a way for pollination or a source of food.

Other animals and in fact us as humans also spread diseases, yet they aren’t eliminated on purpose?

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2 Responses to Bats are being blamed for the Ebola outbreak?!

  1. One of my co-workers at Rona was from Kenya. We got talking about Ebola one day, and he said it was common folk knowledge that it came from bats. He remembers a guide pointing out a cave while on a trail and saying not to go into it, because everyone who did got horribly ill.

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