Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Bats are a possible source of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa

30.12.2014

The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease occurring in West Africa may have originated from contact between humans and virus-infected bats, suggests a study led by researchers from the Robert Koch-Institute in Berlin, Germany. The report, published in EMBO Molecular Medicine, identifies insectivorous free-tailed bats as plausible reservoirs and expands the range of possible Ebola virus sources to this type of bats. The results also reveal that larger wildlife are not the source of infection.

Ebola virus disease epidemics are of zoonotic origin, transmitted to human populations either through contact with larger wildlife or by direct contact with bats. “We monitored the large mammal populations close to the index village Meliandou in south-eastern Guinea and found no evidence for a concurrent outbreak,” says Fabian H. Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute, who led the study. The second infection route appears more plausible as direct contact with bats is usual in the affected region.

Fruit bats are the commonly suspected Ebola virus reservoir as previous outbreaks in Africa show. Interviews with Meliandou locals revealed that exposure to fruit bats through hunting and consumption of meat in this area is common. Yet fruit bats seem an unlikely source of infection, as a food-borne transmission would have affected adults before or concurrently with the two-year-old boy – the index case. This suggests a source of infection unrelated to food.

Another opportunity for infection was a large colony of free-tailed insectivorous bats housed in a hollow tree nearby the home of the index case. Villagers reported that children often used to play in and around the tree. This may have resulted in a massive exposure to bats.

The multidisciplinary team of researchers led a four-week field mission in Guinea in April 2014 to examine human exposure to bats, to survey local wildlife and to capture and sample bats in Meliandou and in neighbouring forests. The index village is not located in the forest but rather in an area heavily modified by humans representing “modern” African settings.

The virus that spread from Meliandou into other areas of Guinea and Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal, represents the largest ever-recorded Ebola outbreak killing 7,800 people (as of 17 December 2014).

Investigating the Zoonotic Origin of the West African Ebola Epidemic

Almudena Marí Saéz, Sabrina Weiss, Kathrin Nowak, Vincent Lapeyre, Fee Zimmermann, Ariane Düx, Hjalmar S. Kühl, Moussa Kaba, Sebastien Regnaut, Kevin Merkel, Andreas Sachse, Ulla Thiesen, Lili Villányi, Christophe Boesch, Piotr W. Dabrowski, Aleksandar Radonić, Andreas Nitsche, Siv Aina J. Leendertz, Stefan Petterson, Stephan Becker, Verena Krähling, Emmanuel Couacy-Hymann, Chantal Akoua-Koffi, Natalie Weber, Lars Schaade, Jakob Fahr, Matthias Borchert, Jan F. Gogarten, Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer, Fabian H. Leendertz

Read the paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/emmm.201404792

doi: 10.15252/emmm.201404792

Further information on EMBO Molecular Medicine is available at www.embomolmed.embopress.org

Media Contacts
Yvonne Kaul
Communications Officer
yvonne.kaul@embo.org

Céline Carret
Editor, EMBO Molecular Medicine
Tel: +49 6221 8891 411
celine.carret@embo.org

About EMBO
EMBO is an organization of more than 1700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organization are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information, and help build a European research environment where scientists can achieve their best work.

EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe. 
For more information: www.embo.org

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.embo.org/news/research-news/research-news-2014/bats-possible-source-o...

Yvonne Kaul | EMBO

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>