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Published On: Mon, Jul 21st, 2014

Ebola epidemic: FAO warns against fruit bat risk in West Africa

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By Mohammed Kandi, with agency report

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has cautioned communities in the West African Sub-region against the consumption of certain wildlife species including fruit bats, so as to prevent the risks of contracting the Ebola virus.

In a statement obtained from an online report by EIN NEWSDESK yesterday, the FAO also called for more efforts on the need to improve awareness among the rural communities.

It said: “Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are struggling to contain the world’s deadliest recorded outbreak of the virus, which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected people as well as infected animals,” adding “The West African epidemic is thought to have started when the virus crossed over from infected wildlife into the human population and subsequently began spreading between people.”

The statement also informed that, “There is no vaccine for the Ebola virus, which is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and body fluids of infected people as well as infected animals.”

Curbing human-to-human transmission is the most important focus for governments and international health agencies. However, FAO is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness of the transmission risks from wildlife among rural communities that hunt for bushmeat – or meat obtained from the forests – to supplement their diets and income.

These communities risk future spill-over from species that can carry the virus, including fruit bats, some primates, and duikers.

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