Researchers believe they may have identified patient zero of the recent Ebola outbreak, which has already killed 961 people, as a 2-year-old boy from a village in Guinea.

Ebola Patient Zero

The toddler, who lived in southern Guinea, reportedly died Dec. 6, 2013, after suffering from Ebola symptoms – fever, black stool and vomiting – for four days. The child’s family members and caretakers are also believed to have died from the virus. His mother died Dec. 13, followed by his 3-year-old sister and grandmother, who died before the new year.

The Ebola, which spreads person to person from contact with bodily fluids, was likely transmitted to a few of the funeral attendees. Those attendees then brought the illness back to their village, and the virus spread to health workers and family members.

“A health care worker from Guéckédou with suspected disease, seems to have triggered the spread of the virus to Macenta, Nzérékoré and Kissidougou in February 2014,” reads the report from The New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers Still Unclear On Ebola Outbreak Origin

The disease continued to spread, and authorities were notified of the “disease clusters” in March, when the investigation into the virus’ origin began. Ebola has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, which have declared states of emergencies.

Scientists are still unsure as to how the 2-year-old contracted Ebola, though Sylvain Baize, head of the national reference center for viral hemorrhagic fevers of the Pasteur Institute in France, told The New York Times, “We suppose that the first case was infected following contacts with bats… Maybe, but we are not sure.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Boarders and other health initiatives are calling for more aid to help combat the virus from spreading.

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