Scientists find Marburg virus in bats in West Africa
Bats in Sierra Leone have been found to carry Marburg virus, the first time the virus has been discovered in that part of the continent. Up until now, the virus had turned up in bats in Gabon, South Africa, DRC, and Uganda, says Jonathan Towner, a CDC scientist who led one of the teams responsible for the discovery. Marburg is a deadly cousin of the Ebola virus, though Marburg outbreaks have been less common — perhaps, Towner says, because the bats that carry it are cave dwellers. The virus was mostly found in their saliva. Scientists think it passes to primates or people through bat bites or fruit that’s nibbled on by bats and is later eaten by other species. Scientists also suspect bats carry Ebola, but haven't isolated the virus in a bat.