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Suspected Ebola case ruled out in Italy

Xinhua, September 10, 2014 Adjust font size:

A suspected case of the Ebola virus in Italy was dismissed by health officials on Wednesday.

Authorities reported that clinical tests carried out at the Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome ruled out the presence of the deadly virus in a suspected case discovered on Tuesday.

"We can confirm the patient tested negative. Our laboratories gave results within six hours from the moment they received blood samples," scientific director of the Spallanzani Institute Giuseppe Ippolito told Xinhua.

The patient was a 42-year-old Nigerian woman long living in Italy's central region of Marche.

She had started having high fever, muscle aches, and other signs similar to those of Ebola on Monday. She was admitted early Tuesday to the main regional hospital in the city of Ancona, where she was being held in an isolated ward.

The woman had traveled to Nigeria in August to visit her family and undergo minor surgery, and had returned to Italy last week.

Health authorities enabled the emergency procedures' protocol on Tuesday and sent samples of her blood to the Spallanzani Institute, Italy's reference centre for the diagnosis of suspected Ebola virus cases, to be analyzed. The results were revealed early on Wednesday.

Further tests carried out in Ancona hospital revealed the woman was suffering from malaria and a specific therapy was immediately started.

This was the third suspected Ebola case isolated in Italy, two of them discovered in the northern city of Padua earlier last week. All of them were dismissed.

Italy's National Institute of Health suggested on Tuesday the risks of infection were very low in the country.

"A spread of the Ebola virus in Italy is highly unlikely thanks to our sanitary and hygienic conditions," director of the agency's pharmacology department Stefano Vella said.

The outbreak of Ebola virus is by far the largest in the nearly 40-year history of the deadly disease. As of Saturday, 4,269 cases and 2,288 deaths had been reported in the current outbreak of the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization.

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