Awareness and wildlife health monitoring is key to preventing future fatalities
All recent Ebola virus outbreaks in humans in forests between Gabon and the Republic of Congo were the result of handling infected wild animal carcasses, according to a study by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and its regional partners. Appearing in the February edition of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, the study found that many animal carcasses tested for Ebola between 2001 and 2003 produced positive results, and found direct links between the deadly disease in animal populations and humans.
"This research proves that hunting and consumption of great apes represent a serious health risk for people in Central Africa, and a risk that can be avoided," said Dr. William Karesh, field veterinarian for the Wildlife Conservation Society and a co-author on the paper. "What we need now is improved awareness of this risk in communities where bushmeat is still a source of sustenance and continued monitoring of wildlife in the region. We have identified a win – win opportunity by using this information to both protect endangered apes from illegal hunting and to protect humans from deadly outbreaks."
John Delaney | EurekAlert!
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