Marburg, an Ebola-like filovirus appears and disappears in Africa - seemingly without rhyme or reason : each outbreak leaving a trail of dead and dying people.
Researchers have long believed the virus was endemic in some species of animal,which acted as a "reservoir" between human outbreaks ; and, in recent years, attention has been focused on the many species of cave bats - in part, because of a seeming correlation between small scale gold mining -carried out -often surreptitiously- in caves,and outbreaks of the dreaded disease.
Now, an international team,working in Gabon, has discovered tantalizing evidence that a very specific species of fruit bat might be the carrier.
Following the testing of 1100 bats, representing 10 different species, one species : Rousettus aegyptiacus , showed positive traces of Marburg in its RNA and/or traces of antibodies for the disease.
Research is continuing in an effort to determine whether this bat species is a "true reservoir" of the virus, or whether it-like Man-merely suffers from periodic outbreaks of Marburg.
The "miracles in health care" we have come to take for granted all have their roots in unexciting , often exasperating research like this: research being carried out by people who care : people we consider "unimportant" and take for granted.