The deadly Ebola virus strikes human populations sporadically, so where does it come from, or rather where does it spend the rest of its time in, since its a virus and requires a host? Scientists recently report in Nature that "Fruit bats as reservoirs of Ebola virus" and that "bat species eaten by people in central Africa show evidence of symptomless Ebola infection." This conclusion is based on tests done in over a thousand small invertebrates close to where carcasses of apes killed by Ebola were found, within days of their deaths.
Now, what other viral host candidates exists for other diseases?
I was talking to Siva over the phone about mangroves when he mentioned the picture on the frontcover of "A guide to the Mangroves of Singapore II" which actually has a mosquito clearly filling its abdomen with the blood off the back of the mudskipper. He was chest-deep in water when the shot was taken.
An image from the Mangrove website:
Leroy, E. M., B. Kumulungui, X. Pourrut, P. Rouquet, A. Hassanin, P. Yaba, A. Delicat, J. T. Paweska, J.-P. Gonzalez & R. Swanepoel, 2005. Fruit bats as reservoirs of Ebola virus. Nature, 438: 575. doi:10.1038/438575a Bat species eaten by people in central Africa show evidence of symptomless Ebola infection.
"Fruit bats may harbour deadly Ebola.". By Debora MacKenzie. NewScientist.com news service, 30 Nov 2005.