Scientists have traced the beginning of the current Ebola outbreak to a two-year-old boy named Emile Ouamouno, who lived in a small village called Meliandou in Guinea and died Dec. 2013. But how did the toddler get Ebola in the first place?
A small team of anthropologists, veterinarians and ecologists think they may have the answer. In a paper published Tuesday for the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, lead author Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Germany hypothesizes that Ouamouno got Ebola from a hollowed out tree where children in his community would often play. That tree, it turned out, was home to a large colony of free-tailed bats, which have survived experimental Ebola infection in previous research. That particular species of bat has also been discussed as a potential source for the virus in past outbreaks.
Source: More Fitness