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WATCH: The Boy Who Danced In The Face Of Ebola

This week has been tough. Maybe the toughest in the long, drawn-out battle against Ebola in West Africa.

Cases are rising at an exponential rate. Families don't have any place to take sick loved ones. And researchers now say the epidemic could last for a 1 1/2 years.

But then at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, a little nugget of joy and hope came through my email: a 55-second video of Mamadee dancing (and dancing quite well).

According to Doctors Without Border, Mamadee was diagnosed with Ebola at a treatment center in Foya, Liberia, where only about a third of people have survived.

The 11-year-old boy had to stay in isolation for more than two weeks. And he lost his sister to Ebola during that time.

But he never stopped dancing.

"He jumps, he ducks, he steps to the side, first left, then right, then left ... swings his hips and shakes his arms," Doctors Without Borders writes. "He doesn't stop, and he doesn't get tired. It is difficult to believe, but Mamadee is an Ebola-confirmed patient."

Even with a health worker standing by in a full protective suit (check out the guy on the left at 0:43), Mamadee steals the show. His spirit shines through.

Ebola be damned.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michaeleen Doucleff, PhD, is a correspondent for NPR's Science Desk. For nearly a decade, she has been reporting for the radio and the web for NPR's global health outlet, Goats and Soda. Doucleff focuses on disease outbreaks, cross-cultural parenting, and women and children's health.
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