Rene Lamah, the Guinean health minister has announced a ban on sales and consumption of bats in the country.
He said this was necessary in order to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which has caused the death of dozens in recent weeks.
The minister announced this during a tour of Forest Region the epicenter of the epidemic. He said bat, which is a popular local delicacy in the region, appears to be the “main agents” for the Ebola outbreak in the southern part of the country.
In recent weeks, 62 persons have died as a result of Ebola virus in Guinea with suspected cases reported in neighboring countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, Brima Kargbo, a chief medical officer in Sierra Leone, said the government is still investigating two suspected cases of Ebola in the country. “We still do not have any confirmed cases of Ebola in the country. What we do have are suspected cases, which our health teams are investigating and taking blood samples from people who had come in contact with those suspected to have the virus,” he said.
Walter Gwenigale, Liberian health minister, disclosed that five people have died in Liberia after crossing southern Guinea for treatment, but it is not clear whether they suffered from Ebola virus.
It is the first time Ebola virus has struck Guinea. The virus is spread by close contact and there is no known cure or vaccine so far. Symptoms include internal bleeding, diarrhea and vomiting.
According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, Ebola virus kills between 25 per cent and 90 per cent of victims, depending on the strain of the virus.
In Guinea, people who eat bats, often boil them into a sort of spicy pepper soup, while some prepare the animal by drying them over fire.
However, the WHO, reports that outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near the tropical rainforests.