The Brazilian Health Ministry announced Wednesday that it is investigating a suspected case of Ebola involving a 46-year-old man who began showing symptoms of the deadly virus two days after returning from the West African nation of Guinea.
The patient, whose identity was not released, arrived in Brazil on Nov. 6 after visiting Guinea, one of the hotspots of the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 11,000 people, mostly in West Africa. While Sierra Leone and Liberia — the two other hardest-hit countries — have recently marked the end of the outbreak, Guinea is still struggling to stop ongoing transmission.
According to Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Costa, the patient first developed symptoms of the virus, including a high fever with muscle pains and headaches, on Sunday (Nov. 8). With a rising fever, he sought medical help at a public health clinic in the Minas Gerais state capital, Belo Horizonte.
Immediately after the identification of the suspected Ebola case, the patient was isolated in the Emergency Department of Pampulha Hospital in Belo Horizonte, and the unit was temporarily shut down as a preventive measure. All the doctors, health care workers and patients who came into contact with the sick man have been quarantined and are under observation, according to the health ministry.
On Wednesday, the patient was transferred on a Brazilian Air Force plane to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases at the Evandro Chagas Institute in Rio de Janeiro, where the government has set up a lab to test blood samples for Ebola according to international security protocols.
A blood sample has been taken and results are expected within the next 24 hours
The health minister said that all the appropriate protocols for these cases have been implemented, adding that Brazilian authorities have communicated information on the suspected case to the World Health Organization.
Last year, during the height of the Ebola crisis in Africa, Brazil registered one suspected case of the disease in a Guinean refugee who showed symptoms, but the medical tests ruled out that he was suffering from the disease.