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Kiwi expert warns against killing bats to counter Ebola

Posted on Aug 13 2014 | IANS

Wellington, Aug 13 : Wiping out bats that are suspected of spreading the Ebola virus in West Africa could have dire ecological and economic consequences, an expert in veterinary public health warned Wednesday.

David Hayman of New Zealand's Massey University found evidence of the Ebola virus in bats in West Africa during seven years of studying disease transmission among bats but is concerned about proposals for the mass extermination of fruit bats suspected of spreading the virus that has killed more than 1,000 people, Xinhua reported.

Past attempts to stem the spread of rabies by exterminating the bat populations did little to stop that virus, Hayman said in a statement.

"In the past we've just killed off bat populations, but it's important we don't take the ill-informed and blunt route of persecuting bats, because they are really important ecologically," Hayman added.

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