The Ebola outbreak is currently being faced in 6 African countries and researchers say there could be more
A new Oxford University model has attempted to make sense of the current Ebola outbreak due to the fact that the disease had never been witnessed in West Africa before now.
The model, published in the journal eLife, suggests that “Ebola's animal reservoir, fruit bats, could spread the disease in the animal kingdom and to humans through the dense forest that spans 22 countries.”
These African countries are mostly at risk because of their consumption of bats, monkeys and other animals as "bush meat".
The consumption of cooked bush meat is not likely to cause infection but the preparation of the raw meat increases the likelihood of contracting the disease.
According to the Oxford prediction, these countries are at risk of animal-to-human transmission of Ebola by virtue of their geography:
Central African Republic
United Republic of Tanzania
The author of the study, Nick Golding, a researcher at Oxford University’s Department of Zoology said:
"Our map shows the likely ‘reservoir’ of Ebola virus in animal populations, and this is larger than has been previously appreciated,"
"This does not mean that transmission to humans is inevitable in these areas; only that all the environmental and epidemiological conditions suitable for an outbreak occur there.’"