Lebanon reports first suspected case of Ebola

AP News
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Posted: Oct 23, 2014 10:13 AM

BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese man who arrived from West Africa is suspected of having Ebola and was quarantined on Thursday in a Beirut hospital, the first such suspected case in the country, Lebanon's health minister said.

The Lebanese national reported himself to hospital after fearing he was displaying symptoms of the disease, minister Wael Abu Faour told The Associated Press.

The man arrived from a West African country three days ago, Abu Faour added, without elaborating.

The minister did not provide any more details, but said the health ministry would make a formal statement once the cause of the man's illness was conclusively known.

"We have a suspected (Ebola) case, and it's still under medical care. Once we have a result, we will announce it," said Abu Faour.

He said the patient was being cared for at Beirut's Rafik Hariri hospital, which has prepared a special unit to deal with diseases such as Ebola.

Thousands of Lebanese live in West African nations, including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — countries where Ebola has killed more than 4,500 people so far.

This week, Lebanon established new surveillance measures to spot suspected cases.

All planes arriving from West African countries are being diverted to one runway, where health officials are checking arrivals for symptoms of the disease. Lebanese nationals who don't display symptoms must still follow up with the health ministry, Abu Faour said.

Hospitals that have more than 100 beds have been asked to create isolation units, the minister said.

"We have to be more careful than other countries," he said.