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Where Could Ebola Strike Next? Check the Bats

Michaeleen Doucleff | NPR   in  ·
January 5, 2015

A few years ago, disease ecologist David Hayman made the discovery of a lifetime.

He was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge. But he spent a lot of that time hiking through the rain forest of Ghana, catching hundreds of fruit bats.

“We would set large nets, up in the tree canopies,” he says. “And then early morning, when the bats are looking for fruit to feed on, we’d captured them.”

Hayman didn’t want to hurt the bats. He just wanted a few drops of their blood.

Bats carry a huge number of viruses in their blood. When Hayman took the blood samples back to the lab, he found a foreboding sign: a high level of antibodies against Ebola Zaire.

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