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Not So Sweet; Fruit Bat Harbors Ebola

Disasters Article   (16,305 Views 13 Comments 592 Words)
by Brenda F. Johnson Brenda F. Johnson (Member) Writer Verified

Brenda F. Johnson has 25 years experience and works as a RN at Gi Lab.

17 Likes; 5 Followers; 70 Articles; 103,431 Visitors; 244 Posts

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We have heard so much about ebola and how it affects us as nurses. Much of the focus has been on transmission person to person and how to protect ourselves. Where did this deadly virus originate? Researchers have tracked ebola into the depths of the African forest to a little rodent - the fruit bat.

Not So Sweet; Fruit Bat Harbors Ebola

The idea of a killer virus penetrating the doors of our hospitals, offices, and clinics is a terrifying prospect. As scary as this seems, it has become our reality. Jumping continents, ebola has extended itself into the borders of America striking fear into most of us with just the possibilities the virus represents. Africa and Asia now share the fight with us to stop ebola before it becomes an epidemic.

Through the abundance of media coverage we hear and see many stories informing us about the Ebola Hemorrhagic virus including the faces of ebola victims that are etched into our hearts. Though fresh on our minds, EHV research has been underway for many years trying to find out who and what harbors the virus in order to find a way to control it. Nothing has been confirmed but studies indicate that the Rousettus Fruit bats could be the culprit.

In 1976 the first cases of EHV emerged in two places; Nzara, Sudan and Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo - which is how the virus got it's name because it was near the Ebola River. More recently, in March of 2014, West Africa had a devastating eruption killing more people than previous outbreaks combined. Poor health care and lack of access to it in these remote areas accentuates the problem. Being zoonosis, the virus can be transmitted from animals to humans.

In 2003 the National Geographic reported that ebola was found in dead animals (bush meat) which is a large part of the diet in the Congo. However, scientists have had a difficult time catching up to the virus because it kills so quickly.

From deep in the forests of Africa to Texas, ebola has spread it's deadly RNA across the world bringing with it it's deadly adeptness. A study recognized by National Geographic unveiled the disturbing news that there are 341 mutations of the ebola virus, proving it can adapt to differing environments making it more transmittable.

Bats Conservation Africa (BCA) admits that bats carry viruses such as ebola, marburg and shironi. But they also say it is unlikely that bats are responsible for the outbreak. Conflicting reports strongly suggest the fruit bat is not only a reservoir, but the culprit for past and current outbreaks.

Researchers investigated the remote village in Eastern Guiana, Meliandova, tracking the source of ebola to migrating colonies of fruit bats. These bats travel long distances and in large groups. This would explain outbreaks simultaneously long distances apart. Infected bush meat of dead animals are picked up and sold to local buyers. Not only are the bats sold and eaten in this manner, but also, gorillas, pigs, chimps, monkeys, and porcupines. These animals are put into spicy soups, grilled, and smoked.

The National Institute of Virology South Africa conducted a study showing that fruit bats in the Tadarida family pass ebola through their stool. Though no exact evidence can be offered that the fruit bats are the cause of the ebola outbreak; they carry the virus and infect other animals with their bite, being eaten or from contaminated partially eaten fruit, and their feces.

Getting rid of the bats may seem like a feasible solution but they are needed for the environment to pollinate plants and eat bugs. Research has given us direction, and hopefully will soon be able to give us some solid facts on how EHV is harbored in the environment.

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17 Likes; 5 Followers; 70 Articles; 103,431 Visitors; 244 Posts

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tnbutterfly is a BSN, RN and works as a Content/Community Director @ allnurses.

349 Likes; 13 Followers; 111 Articles; 192,398 Visitors; 5,284 Posts

Thanks for sharing the history of this terrible virus that has had devastating effects on thousands of people.

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Saiderap has 25 years experience and works as a retired.

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This gives me even more reasons to stay away from meat.

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sirI has 30 years experience as a MSN, APRN, NP and works as a MedLeg Consul/Educator/WHNP(E)-FNP.

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Thank you for the Article. Enjoyed the read.

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traumaRUs has 25 years experience as a MSN, APRN and works as a Asst Community Manager @ allnurses.

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Agree - thanks...great article.

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Brenda F. Johnson has 25 years experience and works as a RN at Gi Lab.

17 Likes; 5 Followers; 70 Articles; 103,431 Visitors; 244 Posts

Thank you very much, glad you liked it.

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Hi Brenda. You might like this video. The video shows teams going in to the Congo setting traps for rodents & bats. They collect swabs to test for pathogens and draw blood for potential Ebola, then release the animals.

Ebola/Marburg

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Brenda F. Johnson has 25 years experience and works as a RN at Gi Lab.

17 Likes; 5 Followers; 70 Articles; 103,431 Visitors; 244 Posts

That was very interesting! Thank you for sharing. It couples with my article well. Again, thanks

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Hadassah16 has 1 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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Great informative articles. I think I will be a vegetarian again.

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Brenda F. Johnson has 25 years experience and works as a RN at Gi Lab.

17 Likes; 5 Followers; 70 Articles; 103,431 Visitors; 244 Posts

I'm glad to live where meat is regulated ( to some degree anyway), just stay away from the bats, okay?

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No Stars In My Eyes has 43 years experience and works as a Retired.

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From The WEEK, Oct.31,2014; page 20/NEWS/ "Noted" column:

"The Ebola virus has been circulating in bats and marsupials for 10 million to 24 million years, scientists at the University of Buffalo have estimated. That makes Ebola at least 50 times older than mankind."

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1 Like; 1 Follower; 36,037 Visitors; 2,074 Posts

From The WEEK, Oct.31,2014; page 20/NEWS/ "Noted" column:

"The Ebola virus has been circulating in bats and marsupials for 10 million to 24 million years, scientists at the University of Buffalo have estimated. That makes Ebola at least 50 times older than mankind."

For some frightened folks it is a new virus which is quickly mutating in an ISIS plot to take down the western world.

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