As the Ebola virus continues to rage across West Africa, some scientists have hypothesized that the outbreak may have started in a tree. According to a new hypothesis in EMBO Molecular Medicine, an insect-eating bat—mainly hunted by children but not adults—may have infected 2014’s first case, a small child. Their reason: no males were killed during the first wave of deaths stemming from the boy—ruling out hunted animals—and that the boy had frequently played near a hollow tree that housed large groups of the bat species, known as the Angolan free-tailed bat. The virus, first discovered among humans in 1976, is believed to have the ability to lie dormant in some animals; though a specific case has never been confirmed.
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