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Ebola Also Strikes Apes

Joe DeCapua | VOA   in 
October 13, 2014

While efforts continue to contain the Ebola outbreak among people in West Africa, researchers have a new technique to study Ebola among the Great Apes. Thousands of the primates are believed to have died from the disease in recent decades. The research could help predict where Ebola outbreaks might occur among humans.

Researchers have been studying Ebola in the wild for 30-years, but they say there’s still much they do not know. It’s difficult to safely capture wild animals in Africa’s rainforests, let alone take blood and tissue samples from them.

Dr. Kenneth Cameron is a Wildlife Conservation Society field veterinarian, who took part in the research. He spoke from the Republic of Congo capital Brazzaville:

“We’ve been doing Ebola ecology studies for a long period of time trying to further determine where Ebola comes from. How it spills over from presumed reservoir species to Great Apes in particular. And what effect it has specifically on those Great Ape populations. We know that it has some pretty devastating effects on Great Ape populations. We believe well in excess of 80-percent mortality when there is an Ebola epizootic amongst Great Apes.”

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