Kitum Caves

Kitum Caves

Context: The Kitum Cave in Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya, is known for its association with deadly viruses like Marburg and Ebola. These viruses come from fruit bats that live in the cave.


• Scientists have identified Marburg and Ebola viruses originating from Kitum Cave in Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya.
• Concerns exist that the Marburg virus could cause a pandemic, as noted by the World Health Organization (WHO) due to its epidemic-prone nature.
• Kitum Cave is a non-solutional cave formed in pyroclastic (volcanic) rocks, not a lava tube as previously assumed.
• The cave\'s walls are rich in salt, attracting various animals, especially elephants, seeking sodium-rich minerals.
• Researchers believe the cave\'s ecosystem, combined with elephant activities that dig and expand the cave, creates a breeding ground for zoonotic infections.
• Marburg RNA was detected in fruit bats, common throughout Central Africa and known to inhabit the cave.
• The Marburg virus can spread from person to person through body fluids or contact with contaminated items like handkerchiefs or towels.
• The Marburg virus is highly deadly, with an up to 88% mortality rate among infected individuals.

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