millThe deadliest Ebola outbreak in history could spread to a further 15 countries in West and Central Africa, putting up to 70 million people at risk of infection, a ground-breaking study has found. Research by the University of Oxford compared historic outbreaks to the virus’ possible transmission in bats and chimpanzees to predict how the disease could spread through its vast animal reservoir. It is the first time scientists have attempted to explain how the virus, which is contracted through contact with infected bodily fluids, has travelled westward across Africa. The resulting map shows how the populations of the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Ghana and a dozen more countries could be hit by the outbreak, which has already killed nearly 2,300 people in 2014.
Several species of bat are suspected of carrying the virus through the jungles of West and Central Africa without showing symptoms, passing the disease onto other animals which are eaten by some communities as “bush meat”. More