Hearing "Ebola" After Eating Bat Meat Can't Be Good

On August 4, one of Japan's largest newspapers, the Asahi Shimbun, published a story on eating bat meat. You know what happened that same day? Another Japanese site warned that bat meat could be spreading Ebola. That's unfortunate timing.

The Asahi Shimbun article was titled "I Tried Eating a Whole Bat." The writer described her experience eating bat meat, "Even though it's a bat, because this herbivore primarily eats fruit, and thus emits an agreeable scent from its body, it's called a fruit bat." The writer, who ate fruit bat while visiting Palau in the Pacific, went on to describe how the animal is eaten in many countries including parts of China and in Africa.

Hearing "Ebola" After Eating Bat Meat Can't Be Good

This comes as West Africa fights an Ebola outbreak, which scientists think might have been started by bat meat. Voice of America reports that the over 900 people have died and Liberia is in a state of emergency. What's happening is awful.

Here's the United Nations from a report first published in July:

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is urging increased efforts to improve awareness among rural communities in West Africa about the risks of contracting the Ebola virus from eating certain wildlife species, including fruit bats...

The Ebola virus is transmitted by direct contact with the blood and body of infected people and animals. And fruit bats – usually eaten dried or in a spicy soup – are thought to be the most likely reservoir species for the virus. They can carry Ebola without developing clinical signs and should be avoided altogether, according to FAO.

"Delicious bat," wrote a commenter on 2ch, Japan's largest internet forum. "Having the smell and taste of ebola."

"It's amazing that nobody decided to stop the publication of this article," wrote a commenter on 2ch, while another wondered, "Didn't anyone check this?"

"To those saying, well, this isn't African bat meat, shouldn't they go ahead and eat this?" quipped another.

Is this meat causing problems in Palau? So far, it certainly doesn't seem that way. But surely, there are better times to publish your experience eating bat meat than in the midst of a terrible ebola outbreak that might have been caused by, well, bat meat.

【食】コウモリまるごと食べてみた! 朝日新聞コラム[8/7] [2ch]

Photo: Ivan Kuzmin/Shutterstock

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