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    Aug 11, 2014

    Boy, 2, is Ebola outbreak's patient zero


    RESEARCHERS suspect that patient zero in the Ebola outbreak was a two-year-old boy who died on Dec 6, just a few days after falling ill in a village in Gueckedou, in south-eastern Guinea.

    Bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, Gueckedou is at the intersection of three nations. It is here that the disease found an easy entry point to the region.

    A week after the boy's death, the disease claimed his mother, followed by his three-year-old sister and his grandmother. All had fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

    Two mourners at the grandmother's funeral took the virus to their village.

    A health worker carried it to another village, where he died, as did his doctor. They both infected relatives from other towns.

    By the time Ebola was recognised in March, dozens of people had died in eight Guinean communities, and suspected cases showed up in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    With 1,779 cases, including 961 deaths and a small cluster in Nigeria, the outbreak is out of control and getting worse.