While ebola hasn't been in the news as much in present weeks—prompting some to speculate that it's a government-created conspiracy meant to distract us from the real issues such as chemtrails—scientists have been busy at work behind the scenes figuring out exactly what caused the outbreak. Spoiler: It's probably bats.
The BBC reports that a new study reveals that the current outbreak of the disease may have been started by a boy who liked to play in a hollow tree infested with bats—sadly not my first thought when I read the phrase "bat play"—and was exposed to the creatures' droppings. Two-year-old Emile Ouamouno, who lived in the village of Meliandou in Guinea was the first victim of the virus in December of 2013 and was linked to the tree.
The tree itself was burned down last March—the BBC reports that it unleashed a torrential rain of bats onto the village—and many of the bats were hunted down and killed for food by villagers before a ban on bushmeat. Scientists, however, found that eating these bats was likely not the cause of the outbreak and that the bats had passed the ebola on through their fecal matter or other bodily fluids.
The researchers believe that while the free-tailed bats are connected to the outbreak that killing them is not the answer as they are part of the ecosystem and provide a great deal of benefit, including keeping the villagers safe from other diseases. When interviewed, Dr Leendertz, one of the researchers said the following about the situation:
"We need to find ways to live together with the wildlife. These bats catch insects and pests, such as mosquitoes. They can eat about a quarter of their body weight in insects a day.
"Killing them would not be a solution. You would have more malaria."
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