A 47-year-old man has been hospitalized in Brazil and quarantined, suspected of having brought the Ebola virus from Guinea into South America. He is the first suspected case of the Ebola virus surfacing on the continent.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the man arrived at a hospital in southern Brazil on Thursday complaining of a fever but has yet to exhibit symptoms that would make him especially contagious, like vomiting. The man is from Guinea and had arrived in Brazil through a connecting flight in Morocco.
While the Wall Street Journal notes there has been no official confirmation of the man’s identity, Brazilian newspaper O Globo is identifying the man as Souleymane Bah, a native of Guinea. He is believed to have arrived in Brazil on September 19, and his symptoms arising this week would still have occurred within the 21-day period in which Ebola usually begins to display outward symptoms of its presence. The AFP notes there is still a chance that he does not have Ebola, however, as his symptoms are also compatible with other diseases that naturally occur in Brazil, like dengue fever or malaria.
O Globo reports that doctors are still awaiting confirmation of the presence of the Ebola virus in the man’s body. The newspaper also acquired documents from the nation’s immigration authority, in which, should the man the newspaper identifies also be the same man quarantined for Ebola, he will be legally allowed to remain in the country until September 22, 2015.
Should his case be confirmed, this patient will be the first to be positively diagnosed as an Ebola carrier in South America. The World Health Organization has announced that the official death toll for the current Ebola outbreak stands at over 3,800, while more than 8,000 cases have been reported. Of those, however, few have left the African continent.
Spain has treated two patients contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and one woman who had contact with those patients is currently hospitalized and in critical condition due to the virus. The United States, meanwhile, has treated numerous cases of US citizens working as medical and humanitarian personnel in Africa but has only diagnosed one patient on US soil in its history: Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, who died this week in Dallas, Texas.
The Center for Disease Control estimated in September the possibility that up to 550,000 people could be infected with the Ebola virus before the outbreak is subdued internationally.