By NBC News
August 28, 2014

The Ebola virus outbreak that’s ravaging West Africa probably started with a single infected person, a new genetic analysis shows.

This West African variant can be traced genetically to a single introduction, perhaps a person infected by a bat, researchers report in the journal Science.

Their study paints a remarkably detailed picture of how the virus spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia in an outbreak that’s taken the lives of more than 1,500 people — including five of the researchers who worked on the report.

One thing is clear — it is definitely being spread by people, not by animals repeatedly infecting people, the researchers say.

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