Watch videos: Is bat soup to blame for Wuhan coronavirus outbreak?

Bat

[Representational image] | Picture credit: Creative Commons

Speculation is rife that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has been caused by bat soup. Chinese reports have said at least 26 people are dead as a result of the virus infection.

The novel coronavirus first appeared in the Wuhan city of China earlier this month. Chinese authorities have since quarantined Wuhan. Seven other cities around Wuhan have also been quarantined, with transport out of them barred for the moment.

Chinese scientists have meanwhile claimed the Wuhan coronavirus shares an ancestor with the bug that caused a Sars outbreak in 2002-03. All this has come amid photos surfacing on Twitter that showed people enjoying something called bat soup.

What is bat soup?

Bat soup is a dish that is reportedly served in areas in and around Wuhan. This is unlike in many places across the world, which bans the eating of bats because they may transmit zoonotic diseases. 

Wuhan eateries serve bat soup, but many don’t use the entire bat itself. Some recipes call for the bat being boiled in water and some condiments till a broth is formed. 

Some eateries use recipes that call for the soup to contain bat meat, which apparently adds to the flavour. 

Images and videos have now surfaced of people eating such a soup in Wuhan restaurants. One video, for example, shows a cooked bat in a bowl of soup or broth. See the video here: 

Another video shows a woman biting into the bat that was apparently served with the dish. Watch it here: 

Sars link of Wuhan coronavirus

One of the reasons experts believe bat soup could be behind the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is its nature. Chinese scientists have already claimed the coronavirus shares an ancestor with the bug that caused Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).

They have said: “The Wuhan coronavirus’ natural host could be bats … but between bats and humans there may be an unknown intermediate.”

It may be noted that consumption of bats was also blamed for the deadly Ebola outbreak in the middle of the decade gone by. Many experts claimed people contracted the virus by eating the meat of infected bats.

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