Ebola, Bats and Evidence-Based Policy
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At the time of writing, West Africa is still dealing with the worst known Ebola epidemic. Quite rightly, the international focus has been on reducing the transmission rate of this disease until it is eradicated from the human population. Once the epidemic curve has declined to this point, scientific attention should be re-directed to the prevention of future zoonotic outbreaks. There already has been much written on how the West African epidemic might have been sparked, but speculation often has been presented as fact and in some cases has been contrary to available evidence. Such inaccurate reporting on the drivers of the emergence of this epidemic is unfortunate, as this can influence policy decisions while failing to identify how Ebola and other serious zoonoses should be controlled.
Viral phylogenetic and epidemiological analyses of the current West African human outbreak indicate a single zoonotic transmission event from a reservoir host in Guinea in late 2013 (Baize et al. 2014),...
KeywordsReservoir Host Public Health Message Epidemic Wave Bush Meat Zoonotic Virus
This work was funded by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Grant Number NE/J001570/1 and the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme under ANTIGONE with Project Number 278976. AAC is supported by a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit award.
- Kümpell N, Cunningham AA, Fa JE, Jones JPG, Rowcliffe JM, Milner-Gulland EJ. (2015) Ebola and bushmeat: myth and reality. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations NWFP Update 2015/1. http://forestry.fao.msgfocus.com/files/amf_fao/project_95/Feb_2015/Bushmeat_Ebola_Myth_and_RealityN.pdf