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Ebola Map May Help Future Outbreaks

Joe DeCapua | VOICE OF AMERICA   in 
September 16, 2014

Oxford University scientists have developed a map of areas where animals are likely to be infected with the Ebola virus and they say it’s a first step toward predicting where future outbreaks might occur.

Scientists said the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa began when a human came into contact with an infected animal, the most likely culprit being a fruit bat. The bat can carry the virus without getting sick.

This map, based on a model created by a team led by Oxford University scientists, predicts that in animal populations the Ebola virus is likely to be circulating across a vast swathe of forested Central and West Africa.

This map, based on a model created by a team led by Oxford University scientists, predicts that in animal populations the Ebola virus is likely to be circulating across a vast swathe of forested Central and West Africa.

Dr. Nick Golding, an Oxford University researcher who worked on the international mapping team, said, “The current outbreak of Ebola has really made us realize that it can be a really significant public health threat.”

He said Ebola has two stages. First, it is transmitted between animals in the wild and can infect humans when they come into contact with those animals.

“And then there’s a second spread, which is what we’re seeing in Guinea and other areas of West Africa where it’s transmitted human to human,” Golding said.

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