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30 October 2014

Bushmeat and the Battle Against Ebola

Research Highlights Concerns Over Bat-Meat in Ghana

contributed by Michael Taylor Assistant Content Editor at CABI

Hunting and eating wild meat, or bushmeat, is thought to be a major source of emerging zoonotic diseases, especially in the developing world. A new paper seeks to understand why people risk infection from bushmeat and which demographic groups might be most at risk. The collaborative team, based at Cambridge University, interviewed almost 600 Ghanaians about why they hunt, sell or consume fruit-bat meat, and their perception of disease risk from these activities. Bats are a known reservoir of diseases such as Ebola virus and Henipavirus that can “spill-over” from animals to humans. The team found that bat-bushmeat is primarily eaten for taste and as a luxury item. Bushmeat hunting was associated most closely with rural residents of the Volta region and members of a particular tribe. They also showed that hunters are most at risk from potential zoonotic infection because of scratches and bites they sustain. The team hope that their findings may inform disease control measures, should a future outbreak occur and call for further monitoring of the bat-bushmeat trade.

Read more at: http://www.cabi.org/nutrition/news/24099

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