Ebola may be present in more animals than previously thought, according to researchers studying the deadly virus, which has already been detected in chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, antelopes, porcupines, rodents, dogs, pigs and humans.
Watch "Ebola: Are We Next?" on Thursday, Sep. 18, starting at 9/8c on both Discovery Channel and Discovery Fit & Health.
Humans and other primates appear to be particularly susceptible to at least certain strains of the virus. During the present outbreak ravaging Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Ebola has killed 670 people so far and infected more than 1,000.
"The close evolutionary relationship between humans, chimpanzees and gorillas makes their immune systems very similar," Peter Walsh, a primate expert at the University of Cambridge, told Discovery News.
According to the World Health Organization, humans can get Ebola through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals (including other humans), so people who consume or otherwise handle certain bush meat are at particular risk. Eating infected non-human primates doesn't tell the whole story, however.