A Saudi man who recently traveled to Sierra Leone on business has been hospitalized in critical condition and is being tested for Ebola, according to the Associated Press.
The 40-year-old man was admitted to a hospital in the western Saudi city of Jeddah on Monday night after showing symptoms of a viral hemorrhagic fever, according to Arab News.
Ebola is just one form of viral hemorrhagic fever and it presents symptoms — including bleeding, high fever and pain — that are similar to other viruses.
Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry said the man had tested negative for Dengue fever and was moved “to a tertiary care center with advanced isolation and infection-control capabilities,” Arab News reported.
According to the Associated Press, the Health Ministry is scrutinizing the man’s flight information, related passenger lists and any family members he might have contacted since landing in the country.
The Ebola virus spreads by close contact with infected bodily fluids or feces. It is not spread through the air, and it is considered less contagious than the flu. However, there is no known cure for the virus, and the mortality rate ranges from 60 to 90 percent.
The World Health Organization calls Ebola “one of the world’s most virulent diseases.” As the worst Ebola outbreak in history continues to ravage West Africa, fears — if not necessarily the disease itself — are spreading across the globe.
In New York, a man who showed up at a hospital emergency room early Monday morning with high fever and gastrointestinal problems was placed in isolation and tested for Ebola. But health officials announced hours later that the man — who had recently visited a West African country where Ebola has been reported — was “unlikely” to have the disease.
Another man who recently traveled to West Africa has voluntarily quarantined himself at his home in Wales as a precaution, according to health officials. He has not shown any symptoms of Ebola yet, but the self-quarantine could go on for 21 days, which is the maximum amount of time the virus can incubate in a person without symptoms being present.
The virus is not contagious until symptoms appear.
“Public Health Wales can confirm that an individual resident in Wales is currently staying away from work and limiting contact with other people voluntarily following possible exposure to Ebola while visiting Western Africa,” a health official said, according to Wales Online. Public Health Wales is in daily contact with the self-quarantined man, the official said.
After a brief scare, an elderly woman tested negative for Ebola after collapsing at an airport in England, according to the Western Daily Press. She had recently disembarked from a flight from the West African nation of Gambia, where there have been no reported Ebola deaths in this outbreak. She later died at a hospital.
And on Tuesday, British Airways announced that it is temporarily suspending flights to and from Sierra Leone and Liberia due to the “deteriorating public health situation” in those countries.
In four West African countries — Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria — the disease has sickened more than 1,600 and killed 887 as of Aug. 1, according to the World Health Organization.
Cases of air travel taking Ebola infected people out of West Africa to other parts of the world remain largely isolated.
In Nigeria, a traveling Liberian American sick with Ebola collapsed at a Lagos airport and later died. A doctor who treated that man contracted Ebola, making him Nigeria’s second case of the virus, and health officials in Lagos said Tuesday that an additional seven people “now have symptoms of the dreaded and deadly disease and have been placed into quarantine,” according to the Associated Press.
The seven have been tested for Ebola, “with results pending,” the Associated Press said.