In Brazil, a 46-year-old man is currently being tested for Ebola as symptoms of the virus manifested after the man returned from Guinea, in West Africa. Brazilian health authorities said that if confirmed, this would be the first ever Ebola case in the country.
Health minister Marcelo Castro said that the initial results of the test will be released after 24 hours. A previous suspected case in the country yielded a negative result, health officials said.
"We are on alert and working in a transparent manner," said Castro. He said the country is prepared and ready to deal with Ebola in case the results were positive.
The man, whose identity was not disclosed, returned to Brazil on Nov. 6 after a visit to Guinea. Guinea is currently one of the flash points of the epidemic.
Two days after arriving home, the man was rushed to a public health clinic in Minas Gerais. His symptoms included muscle pains and headaches. He was transferred via military airplane to an infectious disease hospital in Rio de Janeiro. The unit in Minas Gerais was shut down as a preventive measure.
Castro said that the man's blood samples will be sent to a lab in Fiocruz for analysis. If the initial results were negative, a new test will be done 48 hours after the first blood tests. The results of the second test will once again be available after 24 hours, he said.
"Until then, the patient will remain quarantined and will receive all medical assistance at the Evandro Chagas institute in Fiocruz," explained Castro.
Health officials are also monitoring the health workers who came in contact with the patient.
Three countries in West Africa have been heavily hit by the epidemic. These countries are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Approximately 28,000 people had been sickened by the virus in these regions. Of these, more than 11,000 were killed by the disease, the WHO said.
Health authorities said Guinea is still struggling to eradicate the Ebola virus, but Sierra Leone, the West African nation's neighbor, has announced the end of the outbreak in their area. A ring vaccination campaign is ongoing in Guinea.
"All rings comprised of contacts and contacts of contacts associated with confirmed cases now receive immediate vaccination," the organization added.
Photo: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases | Flickr