W/Africa at Highest Risk of Bat-to-Human Virus Spread, Study Finds

first_imgSub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia are most at risk from bat viruses jumping to humans and causing new diseases that could lead to deadly outbreaks, scientists warned Tuesday.Approximately 60 to 75 percent of emerging infectious diseases are so-called “zoonotic events” — where animal diseases jump into people — and bats in particular are known to carry many zoonotic viruses.The tiny animals are the suspected origin of rabies, Ebola, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and possibly MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and could cause other as-yet-unknown epidemics in the future.Scientists at University College London (UCL), the Zoological Society of London and Edinburgh University looked to map out the highest-risk areas by using a variety of factors including large numbers of bat viruses found locally, increasing population pressure, and hunting bats for bushmeat.West Africa LeadsKate Jones, UCL’s chair of ecology and biodiversity, said her team first created risk maps for each variable and found, for example, that in mapping for potential human-bat contact, sub-Saharan Africa was a hotspot, while for diversity of bat viruses, South America was at most risk.“By combining the separate maps, we’ve created the first global picture of the overall risks of bat viruses infecting humans in different regions,” she said.The work was published in journal The American Naturalist.The research, using data published between 1900 and 2013, found that West Africa — the epicenter of the recent Ebola outbreak — is at highest risk for zoonotic bat viruses.The wider sub-Saharan Africa region, as well as South East Asia, was also found to be hotspots.Liam Brierley, a PhD student at Edinburgh University who worked with Jones, said the risk of bat-to-human virus transmission is being driven higher by large and increasing populations of people and livestock expanding into wild areas such as forests.“People in these areas may also hunt bats for bush meat, unaware of the risks of transmissible diseases which can occur through touching body fluids and raw meat of bats,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Neymar rules out transfer move, staying at PSG

first_imgNeymar, who became the world’s most expensive footballer last year after moving to PSG from Barcelona in a record 222 million euro deal, has repeatedly been linked to a move to Real Madrid.The European champions have issued a series of statements in recent weeks denying they have an interest in signing the 26-year-old striker.Speculation of a Neymar move to the Bernabeu has intensified in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock move to Juventus, a development that has left a vacancy at Madrid for an elite, superstar player.“In the face of the constant reports linking PSG’s Neymar Jr. to our club, Real Madrid C. F. wish to clarify that the club has no intention of making any offer for the player,” a Real Madrid statement said last week.“The two clubs enjoy an excellent relationship and, as such, if Real Madrid were at any stage to consider securing the services of a PSG player, they would approach the club in the first instance.”Although Neymar insisted Thursday he was staying in Paris, reports persisted that a move could be on the cards.British media reports said Thursday PSG were open to the possibility of selling Neymar.Madrid president Florentino Perez meanwhile said the club was determined to reinforce its squad following Ronaldo’s departure.“Real has a great squad that is going to be reinforced with magnificent players,” Perez said earlier this week.“We are aware of the level of demand of the team each season. We are Real Madrid and we always want more. We must reinforce the present and at the same time strengthen the future.”Real however have also been linked to a move for Chelsea’s Belgium World Cup star Eden Hazard, who indicated on Saturday he was keen to leave the London club.0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000PSG’s Brazilian star Neymar arrives to participate in the charity auction of the Neymar Jr. Institute, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 19, 2018 © AFP / NELSON ALMEIDASAO PAULO, Brazil, Jul 20 – Brazilian superstar Neymar on Thursday sought to quash speculation about his future, insisting he planned to remain with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.“I’m staying, I’m staying in Paris, I have a contract,” Neymar told reporters at an auction to raise money for his charitable foundation in Sao Paulo.last_img read more