Initial test results on dead Saudi man negative for Ebola - health ministry

by Reuters
Saturday, 9 August 2014 18:39 GMT

DOHA, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's health ministry said on Saturday that initial tests on a dead Saudi citizen suspected of having contracted Ebola had returned negative.

The man died on Wednesday after returning from a business trip to Sierra Leone and presenting symptoms similar to those of Ebola sufferers.

The ministry said in a statement it was waiting for the results of further tests by laboratories in the United States and Germany, which were due within days.

Ebola is one of the deadliest diseases known in humans with a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. The death rate in the current outbreak in West Africa, which has killed almost 1,000, is around 60 percent.

The U.N. World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday the current West African outbreak represents an international health emergency that is likely to continue spreading for months.

It has put a severe strain on the health systems of affected states, and governments have responded with a range of measures including national emergencies declared in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, which confirmed seven cases of Ebola in Lagos.

Guinea closed its borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia on Saturday in a bid to halt the spread of the epidemic.

Saudi Arabia has suspended pilgrimage visas for citizens of West African countries to counter the possible spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Lynne O'Donnell)

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