Suspected Ebola Victim Dies In Saudi Arabia

Asaudi man who was being treated for Ebola-like symptoms has died at a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s health ministry says. If confirmed, this would be the first Ebola-related death outside Africa in an outbreak that has killed more than 900 people this year.

The man recently visited Sierra Leone, one of four countries in the outbreak.

World Health Organization (WHO) experts are meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss a response to the outbreak.

The two-day meeting will decide whether to declare a global health emergency.

Ebola, a viral haemorrhagic fever, is one of the deadliest diseases known to humans, with a fatality rate of up to 90%.

A WHO statement yesterday said 932 patients had died of the disease in West Africa so far, with most of the latest fatalities reported in Liberia.

Concern has also been growing over a number of new cases in Nigeria, the region’s most populous nation. Yesterday, a nurse who treated an Ebola patient became the second person to die of the disease there. The Saudi man who was suspected of contracting the disease died of cardiac arrest, according to the website of the country’s health ministry.

The 40-year-old is said to have returned from a recent business trip to Sierra Leone.

The ministry’s website said he was being tested for Ebola, but did not say if the tests had concluded that he had the disease.

The website said the man had been treated in an isolation ward and would be buried according to Islamic tradition, while following precautions set out by world health authorities.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia stopped issuing visas to Muslims from several West African countries, amid concerns that visiting pilgrims could spread the disease.

Meanwhile, two US aid workers who contracted Ebola in Liberia appear to be improving after receiving an unapproved medicine ahead of their evacuation back to the US.

But it is not clear if the ZMapp drug, which has only been tested on monkeys, can be credited with their improvement.

Leading infectious disease experts have called for experimental treatments to be offered more widely.

The meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee is focusing solely on how to respond to the Ebola outbreak.

If a public health emergency is declared, it could involve detailed plans to identify, isolate and treat cases, as well as impose travel restrictions on affected areas. — BBC

A WHO spokesman said: “We can’t speculate in advance what the committee members are going to decide in advance.”

The World Bank is allocating $200m (£120m) in emergency assistance for countries battling to contain Ebola.

The virus spreads by contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. The current outbreak is killing between 50% and 60% of people infected.

There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola – but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment.

Ebola has initial flu-like symptoms that can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas like eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.-BBC

 

 

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