After being kept in isolation for safety, an anonymous patient in southern Sweden tested negative for Ebola virus Tuesday, according to Skane University Hospital in Malmö.
Ebola tests were ordered based on where the feverish patient had been staying, according to BBC News. Ebola outbreaks usually occur in West and Central Africa, where the virus was discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River, according to MedicineNet author Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD.
Hospital officials said it was “unlikely” the patient had Ebola, but that the highly contagious disease could not be ruled out without specific testing.
Ebola causes one of the most life-threatening infections in the world, Dr. Davis said. Death rates for outbreaks can be anywhere from 25% to 100% depending on the viral strain.
Ebola virus spreads by direct contact with blood and secretions, by contact with blood and secretions that remain on clothing, and by medical supplies used to treat Ebola patients, Dr. Davis said.
Additional Ebola symptoms may include:
As the disease worsens in severity, symptoms can include bleeding at various sites within or outside of the body.
Some factors increase Ebola risk, Dr. Davis said. These include traveling to areas of Africa where infections are being reported. He said caregivers are especially vulnerable to infection.
“Health care workers and family members and friends associated with an infected person are at the highest risk of getting the disease,” he said. “Researchers who study Ebola hemorrhagic fever viruses are also at risk of developing the disease if a laboratory accident occurs.”