Despite warnings from health officials villagers in West Africa continue to purchase and eat bats, rodents and bush meat.
Bush meat in Nigeria. (World Biking)
Scientists report that Ebola may be present in more animals than previously thought. So far, it has been detected in chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, antelopes, porcupines, rodents, dogs, pigs and humans.
Eighty per cent of the meat eaten in Cameroon is killed in the wild and is known as “bushmeat”. (Gerald Direct)
Villagers in Africa are still eating bush meat.
All Africa reported:
Medical teams struggling to curb Ebola in West Africa have been discouraging bush meat consumption, believed to have caused the outbreak, but some rural communities dependent on the meat for protein are determined to continue their traditional hunting practices.
While meat from wild animals such as fruit bats, rodents and forest antelopes have largely disappeared from market stalls in main towns like Guéckédou (in southern Guinea and the epicentre of the disease) or the capital Conakry following campaigns to avoid contamination, it is still being eaten in remote villages despite the risks.
“Life is not easy here in the village. They [authorities and aid groups] want to ban our traditions that we have observed for generations. Animal husbandry is not widespread here because bush meat is easily available. Banning bush meat means a new way of life, which is unrealistic,” said Sâa Fela Léno, who lives in Nongoha village in Guéckédou.
The disease, which first erupted in Guinea’s southern Forest Region and diagnosed in March as Ebola, is West Africa’s first outbreak, and the worst known to date globally with more than 700 deaths. Infections continue to spread in Guinea and neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Poor knowledge and superstition especially in rural communities, as well as cross-border movement, a poor public health infrastructure and other epidemiological causes have contributed to its spread.
The black market demand for monkey meat could see Ebola spread in the UK and Europe.