My Candidate for the Ebola Reservoir Organism (was Re: Chimpanzee Ebola outbreak)

Patrick O'Neil patrick at corona
Sat May 27 23:39:58 EST 1995



On 28 May 1995 salamon at notmendel.Berkeley.EDU wrote:

> : > The newest issue of science (19 May 1995, Vol 268, Pgs974-975) has a
> : short article on an outbreak of ebola in chimpanzees that occurred last
> : November. This is the one on the Ivory Coast's tai Forest. Also, this is
[...]
> 
> : I'm staggered to see how, for something so prominent as Ebola, the "left
> : hand doesn't know what the right is doing" - all the evidence suggests
> : that the reservoir of the virus is something the chimpanzees eat,
> : something people who eat monkeys eat, and (logically) is probably a
> : mammal, most likely a primate. There have, however, been several
> : recently-published studies on the diet of wild chimps, and their main prey
> : are *Red Colobus monkeys*. How come with all the high-profile activity, no

This could well turn out to be true but other human cases have had 
(apparently) nothing to do with monkeys or chimps.  In any case, though 
Red Colobus monkeys are a major prey of chimps, it is still not the only 
prey.  Chimps have been known to bring down small deer and related 
animals too.  Considering the rarity of Ebola infections, I would also 
tend to think that it might be linked, following your logic, to a 
relatively rare prey of the chimps.  They occassionally kill prey X and 
prey X is sometimes infected with Ebola.

Patrick



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