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Bats could be link to first Ebola case

A man suffering from the Ebola virus lies on the floor outside a house on Oct. 21 in Port Loko Community, situated on the outskirts of Freetown, in Sierra Leone 

NEW YORK – A team of researchers think they have pinpointed how the Ebola epidemic in West Africa started – with a small boy playing in a hollowed-out tree where infected bats lived.

The researchers explored an area in southeastern Guinea where 2-year-old Emile Ouamouno fell ill a year ago and died. Health officials believe he was the first case in the epidemic, which wasn’t recognized until spring.

The Ebola virus wasn’t found in the bats they tested, the scientists reported in a study published Tuesday. But they came away believing that the boy got it from the bats that had lived in the hollow tree.


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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.