Hunting for Ebola among the bats of the Congo
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Hunting for Ebola among the bats of the Congo

August 24, 2019

Two hours after midnight the scientists begin their day. Starting with full containment gear. Even though they are in a totally different environment then they are used to —a hot,muggy, buggy, night in a jungle tent — not a high-level containment facility in Montana– the dangers are the same. These researchers are catching bats in the Republic of Congo to answer the question: Where do Ebola outbreaks come from? in 2013, Ebola surfaced in Guinea and spread quickly to engulf neighboring countries Liberia and Sierra Leone. Much is known about Ebola. Scientists have characterized the virus’ proteins and sequenced its genome. They have collected blood samples and clinical data from hundreds of patients. We know some things about it’s path to people. But two important questions remain: Why does the virus emerge from the wild suddenly? And where does it lurk when it is not sickening and killing people? A huge 160 square-meter net is hung between trees to catch the largest bats in Africa– hammer-headed fruit bats, which can have a wingspan of up to 1m. A veterinarian carefully removes the bat from the net and puts it in a bag. One of the other men carries it a few hundred meters through the bush to the camp and ties it to a rope. Each bat is weighed, photographed, and measured. Then the sampling begins: the bats are swabbed, urine collected, and blood is drawn from a vein in the wing. Most Ebola outbreaks have happened in Central Africa. The first and most deadly type of Ebola was discovered after the outbreak in 1976, close to the Ebola river. More than half of all outbreaks with this virus have happened in DRC or Congo-Brazzaville. That is why this region seems a good place to search for the reservoir. Scientists have found evidence of Ebola infection in several bat species, but they have never isolated live virus from them. For release, the bats are hung on a line, this time without the bag and when they recover themselves fly into the night. The team consists of a virologist from the Rocky Mountain Lab in Montana and an epidemiologist and veterinarian from the Wildlife Conservation Society. The latter study the impact of Ebola on chimps and gorillas- –Ebola is the biggest threat to gorillas apart from poaching, Humans, in turn, often contract the virus by handling dead animals or eating bush meat. That’s why the program also involves telling locals not to touch dead animals in the forest but instead call the Wildlife Conservation Society. The samples will be shipped back to the lab in Montana for analysis alongside those from earlier trips. It could take months for them to arrive in the US. The hope is that the researchers will not only find live Ebola virus and finally prove that this bat species is the reservoir for this type. But also that the data over time will allow them to find patterns that help explain when and how Ebola is most likely to spillover from bats to other animals and ultimately humans. That could help researchers to stop Ebola at its source.

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  1. if it comes from dead animals, could the ebola virus come from the ground or from animals that feed on dead carcasses?

  2. I've been reading William Close's book EBOLA. It's an eye opening book, It's amazing how quickly it spread from Yambuku to neighboring villages. The amount of exposure in the beginning was stunning, there was no idea of sterilization, and many people got sick because of blood exposure. And it kept spreading, the lack of knowledge and the thought it was viral typhoid really was a killer. Hopefully we can discover the truth.

  3. Why the hell are white people acting like they didn't make the s*** in the lab and they give it to Africans

  4. Mother nature tries every now and then to clean up the trash on this planet. Usually doesn't work out for her unless she goes all in.

  5. Big pharma won’t allow a cure, since the deaths aid them by reducing the population to keep earth balanced and not over flowed with humans.

  6. Thank you to these scientists,

    And thank you,

    To these sweet little flying furry creatures for letting us study you.
    We know you didn't mean to spread a disease 😭

  7. Imagine how would other bats react to that bat history
    "dude i was like flying through the night when suddenly BAM i hit some invisible wall and few moments later aliens came and took me for some weird tests!"
    "yeah, yeah jimmy we all know that you overdosed on those fruits"

  8. Takeaway: Don't touch dead animals!!! Weird how we still have people in the world who don't see a problem with this…

  9. They probably injecting it with the ebola virus 😂 then that bat is gunna go around biting poeple an shit

  10. It's not a joke, but there are weirdos in the world.. and when those people are alone they do strange things they'd never admit. What if it came from someone being a sicko with a bat? Those are huge bats…

  11. People complaining that worldstar dont post fights then come to this video to see if a hammer head bat really exists 🤷‍♂️😂 …

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