With the escalating Ebola crisis in Western Africa, and an increased awareness of the potential of seeing infected travelers land in other areas of the globe, we can expect to see a steady stream of reports like the one below announcing the testing of `suspected Ebola’ cases.
Most will likely turn out to have something less dire, like Dengue or malaria. But the possibility of Ebola in travelers coming from West Africa cannot be ignored.
While I’m not inclined to post every suspected case being tested in this blog (they will get plenty of coverage elsewhere), today we’ve a report from the Saudi Ministry of Health regarding a suspected case recently arrived in Jeddah from Sierra Leone.
As Jeddah was ground zero for this year’s big MERS outbreak in Saudi Arabia, and is very near the Holy city of Mecca, this one has enough crossover interest to be worthy of posting.
As the MOH statement indicates, there are a lot of possibilities other than Ebola.
05 August 2014
A Saudi man whose travel history includes a recent business trip to Sierra Leone presented with symptoms of viral hemorrhagic fever last night at a hospital in Jeddah.
The source of his infection could be one of several viruses, including Ebola virus because of his recent travel to a country in which there is an active outbreak of the disease.
The patient, 40, is in critical condition. He has been moved to a tertiary care center with advanced isolation and infection-control capabilities.
Preliminary testing at a specialized laboratory in Saudi Arabia was negative for Dengue virus.
Additional tests are underway to determine if the source of the infection is yellow fever, Alkhumra or another virus. MOH is also submitting samples for Ebola virus testing at an international reference lab at the recommendation of the World Health Organization.
Some viral hemorrhagic fevers are found in Saudi Arabia, however there has never been a case of Ebola virus in the Kingdom.
This case was detected by the Ministry’s surveillance system, which was established within the Command & Control Center and includes real-time monitoring and self-reporting by medical facilities across the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia announced in April that it is not issuing visas for the 2014 Hajj and Umrah to pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea due to these countries suffering from an Ebola outbreak.
Medical workers are monitoring travelers at airports and seaports across the Kingdom.