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

YMCA Hosts Africa Alliance of Peer Review Meeting

first_img– Advertisement – Timotheus Kamaboakai, CEO, Liberia YMCA and Host. The Africa Alliance of YMCAs Peer Review Meeting on Liberia is expected to begin in Monrovia Tuesday, November 20, at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) National Headquarters on Broad Street, the entity has said in a release.The Peer Review Mechanism is one of the key governance reforms that the Africa Alliance of YMCAs (AAYMCAs) and its national movements have adopted as a means of setting up a platform for organizational performance review, best practices, and knowledge sharing.According to the press release, 15 participants representing eight countries in West Africa, which will include National General Secretaries and YMCA Board Chairmen, are expected to be in attendance. Also expected to attend are Senior Liberia YMCA Board leaders, staff and volunteers.The process also strengthens National Movements in Africa. In the Peer Review process, a National Movement agrees to be scrutinized by its peers in all areas of its operations so that the host, YMCA, will be able to receive technical support from its peers and the Africa Alliance of YMCAs.The Peer Review will be held from November 20-24, 2018, and will begin with an official welcome session. During the first two days of the review, workshop sessions will be held, followed by field visits to YMCA program centers in Monrovia on day 3, Thursday.A field visit to three YMCA branches outside Monrovia will climax the meeting, the release 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