More About Bats and Ebola…

A great article was recently published in the scientific literature called “Mapping the zoonotic niche of Ebola virus disease in Africa” by David Pigott and others.  This study used fancy mapping technology called geographic information systems (GIS), to map the concentration of the three species of bats known carry Ebola (check out our earlier post about bats).  The bat map is combined with a map of human populations to show the places of greatest risk.  The top part of the map shows the number of people at risk.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo has the most, with 11.7 million people.  The grey box around the first 7 countries are places where people initially got Ebola from wild animals (bats, monkeys, or apes).  The other countries shown have a theoretic risk because they have bat populations that may carry Ebola, but no index cases.


Free PDF of this article here –>  Mapping the zoonotic niche of Ebola virus disease in Africa, David M Pigott, et al., eLife September 2014;3:e04395

The rest of the article goes into detail about population growth, and the corresponding growth in airline traffic in African countries since the year 2000.  Also, they map where those Africans travel to based on their income level.  Mostly wealthy Africans fly to the U.S. or Russia, which probably means there is a lower risk of a sick person ending up in the U.S., than in Europe or the Middle East (even though we did have one case make it here, which just goes to show that just because the odds are against something happening, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen).

Well, don’t get too excited about that.  Besides the one case of the unfortunate gentleman that came to Dallas, and the smattering of various healthcare workers that were infected, we really haven’t heard much about Ebola in the news lately.  And as you will recall from our earlier post, healthcare workers and family members of infected people are the ones most likely to get Ebola.

However, just because we haven’t heard about it in the media lately, doesn’t mean that the outbreak is over…

Ebola Case Counts as of 12/13/2014.

 Number of Persons
Total Cases18,498
Laboratory Confirmed Cases11,731

* Data from the CDC

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