STUDY: Ebola outbreak could shortly infect surrounding African nations
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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/11/2014 (5 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
The organ-melting virus known as Ebola tearing through West Africa will most likely grow to infect other African nations, according to a worrisome new study. According to research by the University of Oxford, the deadly virus threatens to spread - not necessarily by infected humans, but through transmission through the area's vast animal reservoir.
Bats are being blamed for the transmission of the Ebola virus -- adding to the urgency is the fact that bats are eaten, frequently raw, in parts of Africa.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Scholars had previously compared historic outbreaks to the Ebola virus' transmission through bats and chimpanzees. In either case, the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history could spread to an additional 15 countries in West and Central Africa, putting up to 70 million people at risk of infection.
The study marked the first time scientists have attempted to explain how the virus, contracted through contact with infected bodily fluids, has traveled westward across Africa.
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This graph shows how the Ebola virus may spread to other parts of Africa. The consumption of "bush meat" is hastening the virus' deadly spread.
This graph shows how the populations of the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Ghana and a dozen more countries could be hit by the outbreak. This year alone, nearly 2,300 people have perished due to the virus.
Nature's mysterious night creatures are being blamed for the spread of the deadly disease. Several species of bat are suspected of carrying the virus through the jungles of West and Central Africa without showing symptoms, passing the disease onto other animals which are eaten by some communities as "bush meat." Adding to this danger is the fact that in some areas of Africa, RAW bats are scarfed down as a post-dinner delicacy.
Transmission to the human population was not "inevitable," researcher say, but that environmental factors in many more countries than previously considered make it possible for further Ebola outbreak outbreaks.
Cote D'Ivoire, Gabon, Angola, Tanzania, Togo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar and Malawi could also join those countries already affected, according to the new study.
More nations have been hit harder than their immediate neighbors. A thousand people have died so far in Liberia. The country's Defense Minister Brownie Samukai has said the disease threatens the country's very existence.
"Liberia is facing a serious threat to its national existence. The deadly Ebola virus has caused a disruption of the normal functioning of our State," Brownie said.
Further deaths have been reported in Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea and one case has recently been confirmed Senegal.
"Our map shows the likely 'reservoir' of Ebola virus in animal populations, and this is larger than has been previously appreciated," the study's chief author said.
"This does not mean that transmission to humans is inevitable in these areas; only that all the environmental and epidemiological conditions suitable for an outbreak occur there."
Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
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