Socio-cultural Determinants of Human-Bat Interaction in Rural Ghana
T. Lawson, Elaine
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Bats are known to be a natural reservoir for a lot of disease pathogens and can spread several diseases. All 11 genera of fruit bat found in West Africa are found in Ghana, and human–bat interactions are common. However, there is a dearth of knowledge about the socio-cultural factors that shape these interactions. This paper explores the socio-cultural factors that bring humans into contact with bats. Data were obtained through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. The findings indicate that gender, religious affiliation, and belief systems influence the interaction between humans and bats. We conclude that the hunting and consumption patterns of bats have farreaching consequences for the transmission of bat-borne zoonotic diseases. Educational campaigns, therefore, should be intensified and, in particular, target groups that are most at risk of contracting bat-borne zoonotic diseases.