Ebola outbreak started with a boy infected by a fruit bat, say researchers
The largest outbreak of the deadly disease Ebola was caused by an infected bat biting a toddler, say a group of international researchers.
The 17-strong team of European and African tropical disease researchers, ecologists and anthropologists have spent three weeks investigating the outbreak of the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
The researchers captured the bats and other creatures near the village of Meliandoua in remote eastern Guinea, where the present epidemic began in December 2013.
The boy was bitten and passed the infection on to his mother and both were dead within a week. The disease was then spread far and wide by mourners who came to the funeral.
Scientists have long believed that bats are the main carriers for the disease but it is rare for them to pass it on to man.