Bushmeat was a popular fare in Nigeria, but with the threat of Ebola people have been less interested in it. Wild animal meat is thought to be the origin of the current Ebola outbreak.
Now the the Ebola scare is dying down, hunted animals are once again being seen along roadsides for sale.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says…
- The term “bushmeat” refers to meat that comes from wild animals captured in developing regions of the world such as Africa.
- Bushmeat could be infected with germs that can cause sickness in people, including the Ebola virus.
- Ebola is not generally spread through food, but the hunting, butchering, and processing of bushmeat brings people into contact with blood and other fluids of a potentially infected animal.
- Ebola infections in people have been associated with handling and eating infected animals.
Bushmeat is believed to be the origin of the current Ebola outbreak. The first victim’s family hunted bats, which carry the virus. Could the practice of eating bushmeat, which is popular across Africa, be responsible for the current crisis?
The origin has been traced to a two-year-old child from the village of Gueckedou in south-eastern Guinea, an area where batmeat is frequently hunted and eaten.
The infant, dubbed Child Zero, died on 6 December 2013. The child’s family stated they had hunted two species of bat which carry the Ebola virus.
In Africa’s Congo Basin, people eat an estimated five million tons of bushmeat per year, according to the Centre of International Forestry Research.
But some of these animals can harbour deadly diseases.
Fruit bats are believed to be the virus’ natural reservoir in the wild – they do not fall ill from it, but can infect apes, monkeys and small antelopes, even humans directly.
Humans become exposed to the virus if they kill and butcher infected animals for food.