Human–Bat Interactions in Rural West Africa - Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015
Human–Bat Interactions in Rural West Africa
Bats are increasingly being recognized as hosts for pathogens that affect humans and livestock (1). The 2014–2015 outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa demonstrates how human–bat interactions in even remote locations can trigger infection chains that affect global public health and strain the national health care systems in Africa (2). One of the major challenges to preventing bat-related diseases is lack of knowledge about the frequency of, circumstances surrounding, and motivations for human–bat interactions in rural African communities. Only a few quantitative records are available in the scientific literature, and most are not specific for Africa (3).
In Ghana, bats carry potentially zoonotic viruses including lyssa-, corona-, henipa-, and filoviruses (4–6). Although anecdotal knowledge exists with regard to human contact with bats and bat roosts within rural communities and information about the ubiquitous bush meat trade (7), little information is available about the intensity and circumstances of exposure (8). We therefore studied the cultural practices, sociodemographic factors, and religious activities that determine human–bat contact in remote rural communities from which new disease outbreaks have repeatedly emerged (9). Specifically, we studied the sociocultural association of humans with bats in rural communities in Ghana, focusing on potential routes of virus transmission.
Ms. Anti is an MSc student at Kwame Nkrumah University of Sciences and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. Her research focuses on the influence of human behavior on zoonotic disease transmission.
We are grateful to the chiefs and citizens of the communities of Buoyem, Kwamang, and Forikrom.
This study was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft within the Africa Infectious Diseases program through grants to C.D. and Y.A.-S. (DR 772/3-1) and to O.A., S.O., and M.T. (KA1241/18-1).
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Suggested citation for this article: Anti P, Owusu M, Agbenyega O, Annan A, Badu EK, Nkrumah EE, et al. Human–bat interactions in rural West Africa. Infect Dis. 2015 Aug [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2108.142015