Hide and Seek

Scientists disagree about where Ebola hides between outbreaks. Because it is a zoonotic disease, many believe Ebola hibernates in a “reservoir species”—in other words, an asymptomatic, long-term animal host, most likely a species of bat. Still others suspect an insect or fungus is the vector. Another wrinkle is the recent revelation that Ebola can live in the semen of male patients months after recovery, meaning “healthy” humans must be considered potential hosts now, as well.
Zoonotic niche mapping, in which spatial epidemiologist David Pigott overlays environmental features with coordinates of Ebola cases, may provide insight into the virus’ hideout.

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