Calvert, S. and Kohn, D. (2005, May 16). Baffling diseases emerging from Africa. The Baltimore Sun. [Online]. Available: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002276179_diseases16.html [2008, May 27].
virus; diseases; health; population; biodiversity; poverty; Marburg; Angola; Democratic Republic of Congo; zoonotic; bushmeat; Ebola; bats; primates; degradation
Some of the viruses are notorious, such as Ebola and HIV. Others have less familiar names: Marburg and Lassa fever. But they all have emerged in recent decades from sub-Saharan Africa, perplexing scientists and, in the case of HIV, killing millions.
Africa is recognized as an ideal incubator for new pathogens: It has rapidly growing human populations and high biodiversity, along with widespread poverty, poor medical care and, in many countries, armed conflict that forces civilians to flee far from their homes.
"For every virus that we know about, there are hundreds that we don't know anything about," said Dr. Dan Bausch, a professor at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine who studies Marburg, Ebola and other emerging diseases in Africa. "Most of them, we probably don't even know that they're out there."
Scientists remain especially baffled by Marburg. Since 1967, the Marburg virus and its equally lethal cousin, Ebola, have killed more than 1,600...