At the end of the Vice News video “Monkey Meat and the Ebola Outbreak in Liberia,” the soundtrack turns to a song titled “Ebola in Town,” a tune by Liberian artists Shadow and D12 that has gone viral in West Africa. While it is a catchy dance song, one of the repetitive lyrics, “no eating something dangerous,” reflects a very real public health concern. In a powerful documentation, the Vice video covers the relationship between people and monkeys in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, and the effect that relationship has on public health now and could potentially have in the future.
According the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus is transmitted to humans from wild animals, and is then spread between humans. Vice chronicles how Ebola may have jumped from animals, particularly monkeys, to humans. In Liberia, monkeys are kept as pets as well as providing a primary source of food along with other kinds of bush meat such as antelope and bats. Living in the deep forest in parts of West Africa makes it very difficult to raise animals, and people have relied on hunting bush meat for protein.
Read the rest of the analysis on Food Tank.