The First Boy Who Triggered the Ebola Outbreak Probably Got it From Playing Around a Bat-Infested Tree, Scientists Say
The 2-year-old boy believed to have triggered the deadly West African outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus probably got infected while playing in a bat-infested tree, scientists say.
According to the result of an investigation published by the scientific journal EMBO Molecular Medicine on Tuesday, the current West African Ebola epidemic originated from “a single zoonotic transmission event” in Meliandou, Guinea, where the boy, Emile Ouamouno, “may have been infected by playing in a hollow tree housing a colony of insectivorous free‐tailed bats.”
Researched identified the bats as potential sources for the transmission of Ebola and “monitoring data show that larger wildlife did not experience a recent decline and is therefore unlikely to have served as the source” of the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa, the journal said.
Furthermore, hunting and killing of fruit bats is a common activity in southern Guinea, even among little children, thereby “facilitating direct human contact” which is necessary in the transmission of the disease.