President John Mahama has warned Ghanaians to stop eating bats and monkeys–primary carriers of the Ebola Virus Disease.
“It’s been said that [with] Ebola, the primary infection is our association with wild animals; and bats and monkeys, especially, have been identified as a reservoir for Ebola, and so it is difficult to tell people not to eat bats or monkeys, but I beg you, if you can suspend eating them, it will be better and if you can’t, then make sure you handle it in a way that does not expose you to the disease”, he said Friday.
Bush meat is a delicacy in Ghana and other West African countries. Apart from fruit bats and monkeys, antelopes are also carriers of the disease.
Speaking about how some Ghanaians are trivialising the disease with humour, the ECOWAS Chair, who has declared his country’s national capital, Accra, as the hub for coordinating all Ebola operations, told a durbar of chiefs and people at the Odwira festival at Akropong-Akuapem that the haemorrhagic disease, which has killed more than 4,000 people, is nothing to be joked with.
“It might be seen as a joking matter but it is serious”, Mahama said.
“I received a whatsapp message on my phone and there was somebody roasting a rat and he was saying: ‘Ebola y3 b3 yiew’”. To wit: ‘Ebola, we’ll chew you’. “It might sound like a joking matter but it’s a very serious matter and we need to protect ourselves”, the president advised.
Cases have also been reported in Nigeria, Senegal, DR Congo, Spain and the US. Ghana has tested more than 100 suspected cases at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) but none has proven positive.