Bushmeat a key factor in the spread of the Ebola virus to humans

by Luc Mathot
Bushmeat a key factor in the spread of the Ebola virus to humans


Although it has not been hit by Ebola, the Gabonese government has introduced many measures to ensure that the disease does not cross our borders. One of them was the ban on the import or export of game meat from infected countries.

This measure, although beneficial, has some limits, because if it prohibits the import and export, it does not prohibit local consumption, and does not solve the problem of marketing and transport to urban centers. The wildlife diversity of Gabon is well known, forests are full of animals that are prized for their trophies and / or meat wildlife. Every day, many species, including those that are on the list of fully protected species, are hunted and then sold in many markets around Gabon. Indeed it is not uncommon to find bush meat of fully protected species in markets around Libreville. Giant Pangolins, chimpanzees, mandrills, gorillas, etc. You can find everything.

In Gabon, hunting has always been a complex issue, many people live local products. However, given the current situation, the authorities should get tough and engage in genuine prevention. It is clear that some individuals engage in hunting and industrial sales networks exist. But it is especially when bush meat is brought in large urban centers, the risk of transmission and propagation is especially great. So far, Gabon has been hit by three waves of Ebola epidemic (1996, 2001, 2002), which were concentrated in the villages of origin in the north-east of the country especially. But the risk remains and transporting bush meat to urban centers is a major risk.

We still remember the last big game of capture by the provincial authorities of Waters and Forests in Haut-Ogooué and the Judicial Police. Mbida Rose, known for her illicit trafficking of bush meat and even ivory was arrested in January and again in April with bush meat and ivory, but without really being bothered by the law.

In DRC, Ebola just reappeared because of a hunter who had killed a monkey and given it to his wife to cook it. She then infected her doctor, then her husband, on which samples have identified the virus. The CIRMF, based in Franceville confirmed both cases. The epidemic has grown and has already killed more than 40 people in one month. Hopefully it will be contained to avoid the drama known at this time in West Africa.