Has Ebola spread to Europe? Patient in Sweden is feared to have been struck down with the killer virus after vomiting blood following a trip to Africa
A patient in is feared to have been struck down with , health officials in the country have warned.
The patient, who local reports suggest is a ‘younger man‘, is currently in isolation at the University Hospital in Uppsala.
Doctors treating the man, whose symptoms including blood in his vomit and stools, say he is awake and his blood pressure is normal.
Test results expected tonight will confirm if he does have Ebola – considered one of the most lethal pathogens in existence.
If the unnamed patient does have it, he would be the fifth person to have ever been diagnosed with the virus on European soil, it is believed.
Ebola killed 11,000 people and ravaged West Africa during an epidemic between 2014-15. One case was detected in Spain, Italy and the UK, respectively.
Officials at Region Uppsala – the local health body – have today admitted it is ‘quite possible‘ the patient could have another disease.
Mikael Köhler, head doctor at Region Uppsala, told how the patient visited a hospital in Enköping this morning.
He revealed how the patient had blood in their vomit, warning that it can be a symptom of Ebola.
Dr Köhler added: ‘The patient came home from a trip to, among other places, Burundi, in central Africa, three weeks ago.
‘But they have not, as far as we are aware, visited any areas where there is active Ebola contagion.‘
There is an ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, deemed the second biggest ever in history.
COULD EBOLA SPREAD FROM THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO?
The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at risk of spreading out of the country as refugees flee to Uganda, experts have repeatedly warned.
Fears were raised earlier this week after hundreds of people crossed the border from the afflicted north-east of the DRC following a presidential election on Sunday.
Around one million people were prevented from voting because of the risk of spreading the deadly virus. Violence and protests broke out as a result and people headed to Uganda for safety.
The concerns added to those about the virus being transmitted by people travelling across the border during the busy Christmas and New Year period.
The Swedish man has been moved to Uppsala University Hospital, where patients seeking emergency treatment in Enköping are being advised to visit.
In a statement regarding the new suspected case, officials said: ‘The emergency room at the hospital is therefore currently closed.‘
They added that the patient is ‘isolated‘ and staff who dealt with them have been ‘taken care of‘.
Latest figures from the DRC reveal 368 people have died since the outbreak began ripping through the country last August.
It comes after a healthcare worker in the US was quarantined last month amid fears they may have the virus after returning home from the African nation.
The medic, who was not originally showing any signs of Ebola, is expected to be in isolation at a hospital in Nebraska for another week.
The haemorrhagic fever spread rapidly during an epidemic in 2014, with cases reported in 10 countries – including eight in the US.
Many aid agencies volunteered to help stop it spreading, including British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who was left critically ill by the deadly disease.
She became the first victim of the epidemic to be diagnosed on British soil and spent almost a month in an isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital in north-west London.
Ms Cafferkey was readmitted to hospitals with Ebola complications twice in 2016.
A Spanish healthcare worker became the first person to catch Ebola outside of Africa in October 2014, after caring for a patient repatriated from Sierra Leone. She recovered after a month-long stay in hospital.
The virus was then detected on Italian soil in May, when a healthcare worker flew back to Rome after volunteering in Sierra Leone. He did not display symptoms for three days and was allowed home from hospital the following month.
Ebola was first recorded on European soil in 1976, when a former lab technician accidentally pricked his finger with an Ebola sample.
Geoffrey Platt revealed he spent 40 days in quarantine after the incident, while he was working at the Microbiological Research Establishment at Porton Down in Wiltshire.
WHAT IS EBOLA AND HOW DEADLY IS IT?
Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 across the world after it decimated West Africa and spread rapidly over the space of two years.
That epidemic was officially declared over back in January 2016, when Liberia was announced to be Ebola-free by the WHO.
The country, rocked by back-to-back civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit the hardest by the fever, with 40 per cent of the deaths having occurred there.
Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly of all those infected having been residents of the nation.
WHERE DID IT BEGIN?
An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the outbreak began in Guinea – which neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.
A team of international researchers were able to trace the epidemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou – about 400 miles (650km) from the capital, Conakry.
Emile Ouamouno, known more commonly as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.
HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE STRUCK DOWN?
Figures show nearly 29,000 people were infected from Ebola – meaning the virus killed around 40 per cent of those it struck.
Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US – but on a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.
Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the south-eastern regions of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola.
Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak dwarfed all other ones recorded in history, figures show.
HOW DID HUMANS CONTRACT THE VIRUS?
Scientists believe Ebola is most often passed to humans by fruit bats, but antelope, porcupines, gorillas and chimpanzees could also be to blame.
It can be transmitted between humans through blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of people – and surfaces – that have been infected.
IS THERE A TREATMENT?
The WHO warns that there is ‘no proven treatment‘ for Ebola – but dozens of drugs and jabs are being tested in case of a similarly devastating outbreak.
Hope exists though, after an experimental vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet journal.