A 2-year-old child in a Guinea village may have been patient zero in the worst Ebola outbreak the world has seen.
The toddler died on Dec. 6, 2013, a report in the New England Journal of Medicine said
. Apparently a healthcare worker may have spread the disease to nearby villages.
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The child suffered from fever, black stool, and vomiting, and died just four days after showing symptoms, CNN said. Researchers are unsure how supposed patient zero may have contracted Ebola
“The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission,” the World Health Organization website says
. “In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.”
After the 2-year-old’s death, other family members died, and officials suspect that people who attended the funeral of the child’s grandmother may have carried the disease back to their villages, CNN said.
The deaths from this Ebola outbreak have topped 950, and Nigeria declared a state of emergency this week as 10 cases were confirmed and two deaths reported from the disease.
“Rapid epidemic transmission has been with us a long time, but my guess is that it’s accelerating, with the number of people on the move and intensity of air travel, global trade and the numbers of displaced people we have globally,” Jeffrey D. Sachs, an economist and the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, told The New York Times
Nigeria is home to about 160 million people.
The WHO was holding talks this week about the ethics of using experimental drugs to treat Ebola. The drugs have been used on two U.S. citizens who came down with the disease.
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