The problem is not only that many Africans don’t have enough to eat, it’s that they’re very fond of bush meat, which is the wild game of Africa. The problem is that this includes monkey meat, which is being illegally imported into the UK?and it often carries the lethal Ebola virus along with it. Last year, smuggled bush meat was implicated in 25,000 airport seizures in the UK, a 62% increase since 2004. Imagine the horror of an Ebola plague–in London! And if one started in London, it?s inevitable that, like SARS, it would eventually spread to this continent. This is more important than ever, since new research shows that one of the ways that HIV jumped from chimps to humans was through eating bush meat.
The Bush Meat Crisis Task Force says that five million tons of wild animals are being killed in the Congo Basin every year, which is the same amount of meat as in 10 million cattle. Since Africa is not well-fed, much of this meat is being exported to African communities in London.
In the Independent, Joss Garman and Cahal Milmo quote Ebola expert Robert Swanepoel as saying, "There is evidence of a link between bush meat and outbreaks of these diseases, which are extremely dangerous and very, very expensive to treat or contain. It is conceivable that Ebola could come to London or any other city with the obvious consequences. Air travel means that Ebola could be just as close to anywhere in America or Europe as it is to Kinshasa or Brazzaville."
Ebola (and its close cousin Marburg Disease) have fatality rates of more than 80%.
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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