Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Knowledge, perceptions and attitude of a community living around a colony of straw-coloured fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) in Ghana after Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa.

Abstract

A large population of straw-coloured fruit bats (Eidolon helvum) colonizes a prime area in the city of Accra where several public amenities are located. Although the colony is positive to several zoonotic viruses including the Ebola virus, there is limited information on the social dimensions of the existence of the bats. As a step towards effective response to health risk and conservation of the bats, this study assessed the knowledge and attitude of the community living around the bats and determined their level of environmental and public health consciousness. The community generally lacks interest in bat bushmeat consumption but had low knowledge and disease risk perception of the bats. Despite major campaigns during the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, elements of risky behaviour including disbelief and disregard for some preventive measures and lack of interest in post-bat exposure prophylaxis were recorded among a limited proportion of the community. There was the need to focus public health education on the community and possibly others that may have E. helvum colonies in West Africa.