The Director General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) Tolbert Nyenswah has disclosed that discovery from research conducted by the NPHIL and the Ministryof Health (MOH) to establish whether bats carry Ebola, has proved positive.
Addressing the Ministry of Information regular press briefing Thursday, Nyensuah said the NPHIL and the MOH have been sampling bats
for the last two years in Liberia and discovered the Zaire Ebola Virus in one bat.
Nyeswah pointed out that the infected bat along with hundreds of others were sampled in late 2016 and tested between June and November 2018.
“To date all other bats have tested negative, there is no know case of the Ebola Virus disease in people in Liberia at this time,” Nyenswah emphasized.
He explained that the type of bat that was found carrying the Zaire Ebola Virus lives in many countries in Africa including Liberia, and as such finding the virus in a bat in the country is not surprising, adding that it is likely that the virus may also be found in other countries in Africa where that type of bat lives.
Nyeswah pointed out that the discovery is significant because,
according to him, it is the first detection of Zaire Ebola Virus in a bat in West Africa, and provides important evidence that that particular bat may be the natural host for Ebola.
“Ongoing investigation studies will examine whether more of this type or other types of bats are infected, and how bats spread the virus, this information will be used to develop strategies to reduce the risk of future outbreaks,” Nyenswah stated.
He however stated that though there is no Ebola Virus in humans in the country, people living in Liberia and the sub-region should continue the hand washing practice and avoid eating bats, monkeys and rats.