Swedish hospital investigating a suspected Ebola case, authorities say
A person in Sweden is being treated for suspected Ebola contamination at Uppsala University Hospital, the regional authority said on Friday.
The patient, who is currently in isolation, was first admitted at a hospital in Enköping — about 50 miles (80km) from Stockholm — before being transferred to Uppsala at around 7a.m. local time (1a.m. ET).
The patient was in Burundi for around three weeks, returning to Sweden three weeks ago, Chief Medical Officer of the Uppsala region, Mikael Köhler, told CNN Friday.
They visited “mostly urban areas in Burundi, where there isn’t thought to be any active Ebola as far as we know,” Köhler said by telephone.
But the patient displayed potential symptoms of Ebola including vomiting blood upon arrival at the hospital, he explained.
Köhler stressed that this is still only a suspicion and that test results are expected to be released at approximately 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET).
Authorities said the emergency room at Enköping has since closed and staff who were in contact with the patient are being looked after.
Ebola — which causes fever, severe headaches and in some cases hemorrhaging — kills about half of those infected.
Cases of Ebola elsewhere
Cases of Ebola are very rare in Europe, with one case reported in Italy in 2015, one in Spain in 2014 and one in the UK the same year, according to the WHO.
Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, is currently monitoring an American who was possibly exposed to Ebola while providing medical assistance in Congo. Dr. Ted Cieslak, who is an infectious disease specialist at the medical centers said in a statement on December 29, “the person may have been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious.”
Burundi, where the patient was visiting, borders the Democratic Republic of Congo which is currently going through the second-deadliest and second-largest Ebola outbreak in history — with cases surpassing 600 on Wednesday. This is topped only by an outbreak in West Africa in 2014 when the disease killed more than 11,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.
Humans can become infected by Ebola if they come into contact with body fluids such as blood, urine and tears from an infected person or contaminated objects from an infected person. The virus is not transmitted through the air.
Humans can also be exposed to the virus through infected animals, for example, by butchering them.
Health care workers who are unprotected are susceptible to infection because of how close they work with patients during treatment.