Liberian health officials say that the deadly Ebola virus, the reason for the epidemics, was found in a West African bat, the first in the region.
This isn't the first time it was seen in bats, though, as the animals has long been suspected of causing the outbreaks. Previously, Ebola-carrying bats were found in Central Africa.
West Africa Ebola-Carrying Bats
Despite the discovery of a bat that carries the disease, Liberia has had no reports of an Ebola case since 2016, and the mammals were not linked with any human disease. West Africa was last hit by the virus in 2013, which lasted for three years.
In that span, the Ebola virus, which causes fatal hemorrhagic fever, claimed the lives of thousands of people in Liberia alone. Now, local health officials want to share the recent identification of an infected bat in the region to warn residents of the potential effects of it, although the study is nowhere near finished.
"We do have enough data to suggest to me that it is Ebola Zaire in this bat. We agree with our Liberian government partners that this information should be shared," Columbia University virologist Simon J. Anthony said.
Although nothing is sure yet, the preliminary findings can at least warn people to avoid mines and caves where bats live. However, there are a lot more means that the infection can be passed on, as a lot of people who handle, prepare, and eat the animal may get the disease.
Zaire ebolavirus, which was found in the Liberian bat, is the same one that caused the second-largest outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has already killed 400 people and reported 700 cases. The largest was in West Africa with almost 30,000 infected cases and 11,000 deaths and which was believed to have come from a Guinea boy who held a bat-carrying disease.