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Author Topic: Ebola Outbreak in Congo - Congolese now avoids Bush Meat  (Read 3503 times)

Offline guruslodge (OP)

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Ebola Outbreak in Congo - Congolese now avoids Bush Meat
« on: June 18, 2018, 04:03:04 AM »

For 25 years, Patrick Matondo has earned a living buying and selling monkeys, bats and other animals popularly known as bush meat along the Congo River. Standing on the riverbank in Mbandaka, a city affected by the deadly new outbreak of the Ebola virus, the father of five said that for the first time he's worried he won't be able to support his family.

"Since Ebola was declared, business has decreased by almost half. It's really, really bad," the 47-year-old said, hanging his head.

Congo's latest Ebola outbreak declared in May has 38 confirmed cases, including 14 deaths. The discovery of a handful of Ebola cases among Mbandaka's more than 1 million residents also has hurt the economy, especially among traders of meat from wild animals.

The virus, which spreads through bodily fluids of those infected, has been known to jump from animals such as monkeys and bats to humans. In the West Africa outbreak four years ago that killed more than 11,000 people, it was widely suspected that the epidemic began when a 2-year-old boy in Guinea was infected by a bat.

Usually the wild animals are highly sought-after as popular sources of protein along with beef and pork, and cargo ships carrying the smoked meat arrive daily in the city, the trade hub for Congo's northwestern Equateur province. Meanwhile, bush meat markets still see locals bartering for the animals, both dead and alive. Prospective buyers pause at tables piled with monkey meat, picking up blackened chunks one by one for a closer look.

"Meat is very important for people here. It's one of the biggest industries in Mbandaka," said Matondo, a leader in the city's bush meat association.

Dr. Pierre Rollin, an Ebola expert with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said if the meat is cooked, smoked or dried it kills the virus. The people at greatest risk are hunters and butchers who process the meat, he said.

The World Health Organization has advised against trade and travel restrictions because of the current outbreak, which is mostly in remote areas.



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