Battling Ebola: Is Human Activity to Blame?

in Center News
August 7th, 2014

An interview with Prof. James C. McCann, Associate Director, African Studies Center

Human impact on the environment may be partially to blame for the deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak spreading through West Africa, researchers say. Global warming, logging, and road construction have put humans in closer contact with infected bats and gorillas. In a 2012 study in the Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research, researchers wrote that “the increase in Ebola outbreaks since 1994 is frequently associated with drastic changes in forest ecosystems in tropical Africa,” and went on to note that “extensive deforestation and human activities in the depth of the forest may have promoted direct or indirect contact between humans and a natural reservoir of the virus.”