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Suspected Ebola case being investigated by Swedish hospital

Suspected Ebola case being investigated by Swedish hospital

A person is being treated in isolation at Uppsala University hospital in Sweden after suspicion of Ebola contamination, the regional authority has said. Region Uppsala, which oversees several hospitals and medical clinics north of Stockholm, says a test had been carried out on the patient, who was not identified. A result is expected later on…

A person is being treated in isolation at Uppsala University hospital in Sweden after suspicion of Ebola contamination, the regional authority has said.

Region Uppsala, which oversees several hospitals and medical clinics north of Stockholm, says a test had been carried out on the patient, who was not identified. A result is expected later on Friday.

In a statement, Region Uppsala said it was so far “only a matter of suspicion,” adding “other diseases are quite possible”.

The emergency clinic at Enköping hospital, where the patient was first admitted, has been closed and staff who were in contact with the patient are also being looked after.

The Swedish authorities did not say where the patient had traveled, though Sweden’s TT news agency reported they had returned from a trip to Burundi three weeks ago. The agency added the patient had not visited any region with the Ebola virus.

An outbreak of the virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which began in August 2018, has resulted in 608 cases and 368 deaths. Efforts to contain the virus have been hampered by continued instability.

On Thursday, director general of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the outbreak was occurring in “the most difficult context imaginable”.

“To end it [the outbreak] the response needs to be supported and expanded, not further complicated. Ebola is unforgiving, and disruptions give the virus the advantage,” said Dr Tedros.

To date, more than 54,000 people in the DRC, including frontline responders and those at risk of having contact with the disease, have been vaccinated.

Fatality rates for Ebola have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The virus spreads from from human to human through close contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease.

The incubation period for Ebola – the gap between an individual being infected and showing symptoms – is up to 21 days, meaning it is possible for an infected person to travel widely before realising they have the disease. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms, which at first are fever, muscle pain, headaches and a sore throat.

The worst Ebola epidemic ended in West Africa two years ago after killing more than 11,300 people and infecting about 28,600 across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Cases outside of Africa have been isolated. Pauline Cafferkey, a Scottish nurse who volunteered in Sierra Leone in December 2014, was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the UK.

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