DUBAI – Saudi Arabia is testing a man for suspected Ebola infection after he returned recently from a business trip to Sierra Leone, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.
It said the man, a Saudi in his 40s, was at a hospital in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after showing "symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever", which resemble symptoms of the Ebola virus.
The ministry said it had taken precautionary measures, including isolating the patient at a specialist hospital and had sent blood samples to an international laboratory in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) for further checks.
Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known in humans with a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent. The death rate in the current West Africa outbreak is around 60 percent.
Saudi Arabia has been on alert against the spread of the virus from west Africa, where more than 800 people have died, suspending issuance of visas from several countries for the annual haj pilgrimage or for other visits to Muslim holy places.
WHO chief Margaret Chan said last week that an outbreak of the virus in West Africa was out of control but can be stopped with more resources and tougher measures. The outbreak is the worst since the disease was discovered in the mid-1970s.
There are no effective treatments and no vaccine to protect against Ebola infection. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with the blood or fluids of the infected, including the dead.