Patients zero: Disease victims who were blamed for outbreaks

Updated 11:17 AM ET, Mon May 1, 2017
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Mary Mallon, who became known as "Typhoid Mary," was identified circa 1907 as the controversial "patient zero" in a typhoid fever outbreak in the United States in the early 1900s. Although she never had symptoms, she was forced into quarantine on two occasions, for a total of 26 years. Bettmann/Getty Images
Gaëtan Dugas, a French-Canadian flight attendant, was mistaken as the "patient zero" who brought human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, to the United States. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first documented the mysterious disease in 1981. Dugas and his family were condemned for years, until his name was cleared decades later in a research paper published in the journal Nature in 2016. Fair Use
Captain Boonmanuch, a young boy who lived in northern Thailand, may have played a small role in the spread of H5N1 avian flu, or bird flu, in 2003. He was the first human death from bird flu in Thailand during the outbreak. Patipahat Boonmanuch, Captain's brother, held a picture of him during his funeral. Sukree Sukplang/Reuters/Alamy
Edgar Hernandez, a 5-year-old living in La Gloria, Mexico, was believed to be "patient zero" in the 2009 swine flu, or H1N1, outbreak. He survived swine flu, which his mother believed developed due to a pig in the neighborhood. Pablo Spencer/AFP/Getty Images
Emile Ouamouno, a 2-year-old boy in the southern Guinea village of Meliandou, was identified as "patient zero" in the Ebola outbreak circa 2014. Emile died of the disease, as did several of his family members. Emile's father, Etienne Ouamouno, holds a picture of his second wife, Sia Dembadouno, and Emile. Kristin Palitza/dpa/AP