Ebola kills gorillas

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Ebola kills over 5000 western gorillas, says BBC, quoting Science (subscription necessary). That is about a quarter of the total gorilla population.

Abstract

Over the past decade, the Zaire strain of Ebola virus (ZEBOV) has repeatedly emerged in Gabon and Congo. Each human outbreak has been accompanied by reports of gorilla and chimpanzee carcasses in neighboring forests, but both the extent of ape mortality and the causal role of ZEBOV have been hotly debated. Here, we present data suggesting that in 2002 and 2003 ZEBOV killed about 5000 gorillas in our study area. The lag between neighboring gorilla groups in mortality onset was close to the ZEBOV disease cycle length, evidence that group-to-group transmission has amplified gorilla die-offs.

Update: here is the story in the New York Times (hat tip John Hawks).

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