How the Worst Ebola Outbreak Began with One Boy’s Death
Emile Ouamouno was just two years old and living in the remote Guinean village of Meliandou when he began suffering from a fever, headache and bloody diarrhoea.
In December 2013, despite his family’s best efforts, the young boy died – followed within days by his three-year-old sister Philomene and their pregnant mother Sia.
This was the start of an Ebola outbreak so devastating that it would kill more than 5,000 people in a year, leave hundreds of children orphaned and affect thousands more.
The village of Meliandou sits deep within the Guinean forest region, surrounded by towering reeds and oil palm cultivations – these are believed to have attracted the fruit bats carrying the virus passed onto Emile.
In a pattern that has come to characterise the spread of this deadly virus as it tears into close-knit communities, Ebola infected village health workers before spreading to nearby districts.