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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/26/2014 (6 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Fruit bats believed to be a major carrier of virus

The African nation of Guinea has banned the sale and consumption of bats in order to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Health Minister Rene Lamah says. Considered a local delicacy, the consumption of bats appeared to be the "main agents" for the Ebola outbreak in the south.

Certain species of bat found in West and Central Africa are thought to be the natural reservoir of Ebola, although they do not show any symptoms.

Certain species of bat found in West and Central Africa are thought to be the natural reservoir of Ebola, although they do not show any symptoms.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/26/2014 (6 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Bats, Guinea, Ebola, ban, bat eating


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sixty-two people have now been killed by the virus in Guinea. There are also suspected cases reported in the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola, a deadly "body melt" contagion that dissolves internal organs is spread by close contact. There is no known cure or vaccine. Symptoms include internal and external bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting.

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Ebola kills between 25 percent and 90 percent of victims, depending on the strain of the virus, according to the World Health Organization.

The current outbreak is the first time Ebola has struck Guinea. There have been recent outbreaks thousands of miles away, in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Lamah announced the ban on the sale and consumption of bats during a tour of Forest Region, the epicenter of the epidemic.

People who eat the winged night creatures often boil them into a sort of spicy pepper soup. The soup is sold in village stores where people gather to drink alcohol.

Other ways of preparing the bats to eat include drying them over a fire.

Certain species of bat found in West and Central Africa are thought to be the natural reservoir of Ebola, although they do not show any symptoms.

The charity Doctors without Frontiers has set up two quarantine sites in southern Guinea to try to contain the outbreak.

Health authorities are receiving help from the WHO while messages are being broadcast on national television to reassure people.

In the meantime, Sierra Leone's health ministry said it was investigating two suspected cases of Ebola.

"We still do not have any confirmed cases of Ebola in the country," its chief medical officer Brima Kargbo says.

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