Monrovia (dpa) – Researchers have detected the very dangerous Ebola virus for the first time in a bat in Western Africa.
Further research now reveal whether more blows are affected and how they spread the virus, said the Liberia Ministry of Health. "This information will help us develop strategies to reduce the risk of additional epidemics," he said. Antibodies to the virus before were detected in bats in the region.
The analysis of the genome showed a great deal with the Zaire-Ebola virus that caused the destructive Ebola explosion in West Africa in 2014/2015 with about 11,000 deaths, the virologist Simon Anthony from the University of Columbia in New York City found the finding. "This is important because we did not know how the Western African epidemic happened," said the analyst at the German Press Agency. Now, more about Ebola can be found, including the question of how the virus will be transmitted to humans.
The search has not yet been published in a well-known scientific publication, since the research is still ongoing. So far only the DNA of about a quarter of the 4000 animal samples from Liberia has been analyzed, said Anthony. But above all it was important for the authorities in Liberia to immediately warn the population against the killing and consumption of bats. The fatal consequences of the Ebola virus are known. "So it would be wrong to resist this," says Anthony.
Experts have long believed that bats or fruit juices can be borne by the virus and thus the beginning of epidemics. The patogene was detected in bats of Central Africa for years. The bat now identified as a carrier in West Africa is a long-winged bat of the Miniopterus inflatus species, that lives in caves and eats insects.
In hundreds of other bats tested so far, however, the virus could not be confirmed. Thus, it might be that the animal was accidentally infected with another wild animal, the species is not usually a reservoir for the patogene.
The Ministry of Health in Monrovia called to all the liberators to stop hunting, killing or eating bats. In Liberia, which according to UN index is one of the ten poorest countries in the world, wild beasts such as blows often serve as food.
In Liberia, since the end of the western African epidemic, which was particularly influenced by Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – no longer known Ebola disease. In eastern Congo, it is currently the second most severe explosion of hemorrhagic fever. There are more than 700 people who are sick, almost 450 people have died.
Protective Ebola vaccine developed after the western African epidemic shows good results so far in the Congo. The virus is named along a river in the Congo. It was first detected there for decades in what was then Zaire.