April 16, 2014
Ebola Outbreak: Bat Eating Banned, Death Toll At 62, Virus Ruled Out In Canada Case

The Ebola outbreak in the West Africa country of Guinea has now killed 62 people, up from the 59 reported deaths as recently as a day ago. As the country and its neighbors Liberia and Sierra Leone scramble to stop the Ebola virus from spreading further, the Guinea government Tuesday outlawed the sale and consumption of bats — because many bats carry the Ebola virus, though they appear immune to its deadly effects.

Not so of the human beings who cook and eat the flying mammals. Bats are prepared as a popular dish in the West Africa region, often cooked into a spicy broth or broiling them over an open fire. The boiled bat soup is sold in local bodegas where local residents congregate to socialize and unwind.

But the cooked bats are the "main agents" from the current outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, according to the country's health minister Rene Lamah, who visited Guinea's Forest Region where the Ebola outbreak is centered to announce the new ban on selling and eating bats.

The outbreak of Ebola is the first in West Africa since a reported case in Ivory Coast in 1994. Since then, any Ebola outbreaks were centered 3,000 miles away in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Uganda.

In Canada, as The Inquisitr reported earlier today, one patient in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who had recently traveled to Liberia was being isolated as a precaution in case he had contracted the Ebola virus.

But tests for Ebola showed his illness was not caused by the deadly virus or any of the related viruses that appear in the region. Doctors now believe the Canadian patient may be suffering from a severe case of malaria.

There have been no confirmed cases of Ebola Hemmorhagic Fever in Liberia, but the country has suspected the Ebola virus in the cases of eight patients, who crossed the border from Guinea. Five of those individuals have died, but Liberia has not yet been able to test any of them for the virus.

Sierra Leone also has experienced two possible cases of Ebola, but none confirmed. A 14-year-old boy who attended the funeral of a deceased Ebola patient, then died himself, is being examined especially closely by health officials in Sierra Leone.

"What we do have are suspected cases, which our health teams are investigating and taking blood samples from people who had come in contact with those suspected to have the virus," said Sierra Leone health official Brima Kargbo.

An Ebola outbreak in a country with poor health care such as Guinea can prove especially hazardous, according to UNICEF, which is assisting with efforts to contain the disease there. The fact that Ebola kills most of its victims, the UNICEF statement said, helps to keep the virus from spreading, as Ebola is transmitted by contact with the body fluid of an infected person or animal.