One of this project’s initial aims is to investigate any cultural repercussions of the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone and how any cultural changes may have effected farming practices, wildlife trade, ethnozoopharmacological practices, and perceptions of wildlife in the country.
The 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic was the worst outbreak of Ebola ever recorded and took more than 11,000 lives across West Africa, with the most deaths occurring in Sierra Leone.
Ebola is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transferred from animals, like chimpanzees, monkeys, bats, and antelope, to humans. Although there were no confirmed cases of animal to human transmission of Ebola in Sierra Leone, because the risk presented by handling or consuming bushmeat was so widely spread, it may have effected the way people view these animals, as it certainly had an effect on what people chose to purchase in markets during and after the outbreak.
The Global Health Security Agenda stated that there are three main actions to minimize zoonotic disease spill over into human populations: reduce contact with bats, increase food security, and reduce unsafe handling of bush meat.
The Pan Verus Project is working to address all of these issues in it’s upcoming field seasons.