Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe says his story starts in 1973. He had just gotten his Ph.D. at the Rega Institute in Belgium. He could have stayed in Europe, but he decided to return to Congo, or what was then known as Zaire, which had only recently attained independence from Belgium. He took a job as a field epidemiologist. In 1976, he was called to an outbreak of a mysterious disease in central Congo.
He persuaded one of the nuns who had the disease to fly with him to Kinshasa. He took blood samples before she died and sent them to Belgium, where they had an electron microscope to try to identify the culprit. Scientists there and in the United States saw this was a new virus that caused hemorrhagic fever.
They named it Ebola, after a river near the village.
The discovery, says Muyembe, was thanks to a "consortium of research."
But Google "Who discovered Ebola?" and you get a bunch of names — all of them white Western males. Dr. Jean Jacques Muyembe has been written out of history.
The man who gets the bulk of the credit for discovering Ebola is Dr. Peter Piot. At the time, he was a young microbiologist at the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Belgium. He was the one to receive the blood samples sent by Muyembe.
Read the entire article at Goats and Soda, NPR.