It is believed that the little bat killed more than 11,000 people. Because in this flying mammal the scientists have already found remnants of the terrible Ebola virus that creeps through West Africa a few years ago.
In the current hunt for the Ebola virus, researchers took samples of over 11,000 bats, rodents and other animals. In connection with this, it was discovered by a long-wing bat. Researchers failed to isolate the entire virus, but one-fifth of its genome was found in the bat saliva.
Between 2014 and 2016, Africa has experienced the worst epidemic of Ebola so far. More than 28,000 people are affected, of whom just over 11,000 have died.
The outbreak began in December 2013 in Southeast Guinea in West Africa. Analyzes show that this is a completely new strain of the Ebola Zaire virus. The infection spreads rapidly both in the country and in the neighboring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. But where did the virus come from the beginning?
This is the first time Ebola has hit West Africa and since then researchers have searched for the virus reservoir, its natural habitat to learn more and, if possible, prevent new outbreaks.
The epidemic probably started with a two-year-old boy who got sick and then died after playing in a hollow tree. Inside the tree there were traces of bats, so it is believed that the boy, who thus became the first victim of the epidemic, had come into contact with the lure of the bat inside the tree. But until now some bats have not been discovered. So far, researchers have found the remains of the virus of Miniopterus inflatus, long winged bats, which is common in the region.
"This is the first proof that the bats carry the Zaire Ebo in this region. This allows us to explore and understand where this virus comes from, "said John Epstein, a veterinary epidemiologist at the EcoHealth Alliance, the organization behind this discovery, for Science News.
The current bat lives on insects and is stored in caves. Researchers have failed to isolate the entire virus, but in saliva they have found one-fifth of their genome, which, according to scientists, is enough to ensure they have discovered the natural habitat of the virus.
However, other findings suggest that the virus can also be found in fruitful bats, the so-called flying dogs.
"It makes me believe that this is a virus that can have several different hosts and may depend on the region that carries it," says John Epstein.
Finding the natural habitat of the Ebola virus has been extremely difficult, writes Science News. Researchers are looking for decades without much results. In this recent effort, Simon Anthony, a Columbia University virologist in the United States, has studied more than 11,000 bats, rodents and other animals in West Africa.
Although much to suggest, scientists still can not be absolutely sure they really did the right thing. Further analyzes of the many samples taken must be made. It may also be so bad, at least in theory, that not all bats are the real reservoir but an infected insect that the bat has eaten.
Fever and bleeding
Ebola belongs to the group of diseases commonly called hemophiliacs.
The eruption of the Ebola was reported by the Congo and the West African countries.
The infection is transmitted by direct contact with blood, saliva and other body fluids. It's not in the air. It also can not pass through the entire, undamaged skin, but should come into contact with mucous membranes.
The illness begins with flu-like symptoms like fever, weakness, headache and muscle aches. Severe illness causes bleeding in the skin and mucous membranes.
A person infected with the Ebola virus is not infected before it begins to experience symptoms.