Ebola outbreak sweeping West Africa started with boy infected by fruit bat, say researchers

Most of the previous outbreaks have been caused by meat from dead infected animals collected by hunters who then sell it on. Fruit bats, however, are widely eaten in rural west Africa – either smoked, grilled or in a spicy soup

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…