Following years of headline speculation reporting bats to be the reservoir for Ebola, a review of current knowledge points elsewhere. This often fatal disease is caused by the Ebolavirus genus, which includes five species (Sudan, Zaire, Bundibugyo, Tai Forest and Reston virus). The geographical distribution of these species along separate river basins is inconsistent with a highly mobile source, such as bats, that easily cross basin borders. (more…)
In Merlin Tuttle’s blogged report titled, Ebola: Bats Prematurely Blamed, released on January 15, 2016, he summarized available knowledge of Ebola related to bats. He reported a prime example of extraordinarily biased sampling combined with premature speculation that had become entrenched as “fact” without the backing of credible scientific data. (more…)
Ebola: Bats Prematurely Blamed
By Merlin Tuttle
If public health concerns were based on actual threats to human mortality, diseases speculated to be spread by bats would take a distant back seat. Even our beloved dogs are many times more dangerous than bats (1). Real killers, like consumption of over processed and contaminated foods dwarf any risks associated with animals (2).
Yet we squander millions of scarce public health dollars on witch hunts for rare diseases in bats, when those funds could save far more human lives if spent on reducing already proven killers such as obesity and environmental toxicants linked to escalating rates of cancer, heart disease, dementia and diabetes.
In recent years speculation linking scary diseases to bats has gained unprecedented media headlines and grants.