Where did Ebola come from?

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This video is from https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ebola ‘Ebola: Symptoms, History and Origins’ is a free online course by the University of Lancaster available on FutureLearn.com

This video discusses the origins of the Ebola virus. A large survey of African wildlife could only find Ebola antibodies in live wild animals (indicating a previous infection with the virus that had been survived) if those animals were bats. A handful of other species (most notably humans and great apes) can catch Ebola under natural conditions, but all of them generally have high mortality rates and the virus cannot use them as a “reservoir” host.

To satisfy the requirements for a reservoir, a host must be able to tolerate a virus and spread it reasonably readily. The fact that the virus family Filoviridae contains a genus Cuevavirus confined entirely to bats is also a strong bit of circumstantial evidence that Ebola and its relatives are most at home upside down. It’s now thought that the index case in Meliandou could also have been as a result of contact with a bat, and the tree from which the bat possibly came has even been identified.

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