The government of Liberia, in partnership with the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and EcoHealth Alliance, announced the discovery of Ebola virus in a bat in Liberia. This is the first finding of Zaire ebolavirus in a bat in West Africa, adding to other evidence suggesting bats serve as a natural wildlife reservoir for Ebola and other related viruses.
For the first time, scientists discovered a new ebolavirus species in a host prior to detection in an infected human or sick animal. This discovery Illustrates PREDICT project’s goal to find viruses before they spill over into people.
Scientists have identified a novel ebolavirus in free-tailed bats in Sierra Leone, providing the strongest evidence to date that bats are the natural hosts of these viruses. The new virus, called Bombali virus, was found in insectivorous bats roosting inside people’s houses. There is currently no evidence of human infection or spillover of this virus.