A SUSPECTED case of deadly Ebola virus has been reported at a Swedish hospital, health bosses have said.
The patient has been put into isolation while doctors run tests to establish if they have the disease.
Region Uppsala, which oversees several hospitals and medical clinics north of Stockholm, says tests had been carried out on the patient, who has not been identified.
Medics will know the results by later today.
In its statement, Region Uppsala said it was so far “only a matter of suspicion” adding “other diseases are quite possible”.
Ebola is a highly contagious virus, with an incubation period of 21 days – which means it can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear.
In August, the World Health Organisation declared a new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo – the country where the virus was first discovered in the 1970s.
While the Swedish patient isn’t thought to have travelled to Congo, Sweden’s TT news agency said the patient returned from a trip to Burundi, which borders the African nation, three weeks ago.
After arriving home, the patient was admitted to a hospital in Enkoping.
Bosses shut down the emergency room shut down and the staff who treated the patient were “cared for”, officials confirmed.
What is the Ebola virus?
The Ebola virus disease – previously called Ebola haemorrhagic fever – is a viral infection that occurs in humans and primates.
The virus is part of the Filoviridae family, which also includes Marburg virus.
It was first detected in regions close to the River Ebola, which gave the disease its name.
To date, scientists have identified five strains of Ebola – four of which are known to cause disease in humans.
The natural reservoir – or host of the virus – is thought to be the fruit bat.
The patient was eventually transferred to an infection clinic in Uppsala.
“The patient came in Friday morning and reportedly was vomiting blood which may be a symptom of Ebola infection,” Mikael Kohler, a spokesman for the hospital, told local newspaper Upsala Nya Tidning.
Since the outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo was reported in the summer there have been 591 cases confirmed, according to WHO.
Of those, 357 people have died.
What are the symptoms of Ebola?
The virus has an incubation period of two to 21 days, meaning symptoms can take up to three weeks to appear from the time of infection.
Early symptoms of Ebola include:
- muscle pain
- sore throat
They are similar to those of other diseases, making diagnosis tricky in some cases.
Later as the disease progresses, it can cause:
- impaired kidney and liver function
- stomach pain
- internal and external bleeding
On Thursday the director general of The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned the response to the outbreak was “at critical stage”.
Civil unrest resulted in vandalism to an Ebola transit centre in Beni and several other health facilities last week, slowing down vaccination and surveillance.
“I’m concerned about the impact of the recent disruptions at this critical moment,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“This outbreak is occurring in the most difficult context imaginable.
“To end it the response needs to be supported and expanded, not further complicated. Ebola is unforgiving, and disruptions give the virus the advantage.”
In December 2013 the deadliest ever Ebola outbreak began in Guinea, West Africa.
The virus rampaged through Sierra Leone and Liberia – spreading to parts of Europe including the UK and the US.
In total the outbreak killed around 11,000 people with more than 28,000 cases reported – the majority in West Africa.
All major outbreaks have been in Africa, though isolated cases have been reported outside the continent.
The hemorrhagic fever’s virus is spread via contact with the bodily fluids of those infected.