Ebola risk unheeded as Guinea’s villagers keep on eating fruit bats

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Health workers struggle to separate myth from reality of Ebola as residents say abandoning tradition is out of the question

Medical teams struggling to curb Ebola in west Africa have been discouraging bush meat consumption, believed to have caused the outbreak, but some rural communities dependent on the meat for protein are determined to continue their traditional hunting practices.

While meat from wild animals such as fruit bats, rodents and forest antelopes has largely disappeared from market stalls in main towns such as Guéckédou in southern Guinea – the epicentre of the disease, and the capital Conakry following campaigns to avoid contamination, it is still being eaten in remote villages despite the risks.

“Life is not easy here in the village. They [authorities and aid groups] want to ban our traditions that we have observed for generations. Animal husbandry is not widespread here because bush meat is easily available. Banning bush meat means a new way of life, which is unrealistic,” said Sâa Fela Léno, who lives in Nongoha village in Guéckédou.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases