A Canadian patient who recently traveled to Africa tested negative for Ebola after demonstrating flu-like symptoms consistent with the virus, health officials said today.
“I can now confirm a recent case that underwent testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg was found to test negative,” Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care said in a statement.
The patient had traveled to Nigeria -- one of the West African nations grappling with the Ebola outbreak -- and was brought in for testing at the William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital, about 30 miles west of Toronto. The ministry said that initial symptoms of Ebola, such as fever, headache, and muscle pain, are similar to common diseases and the patient was therefore tested as a precautionary measure.
The World Health Organization on Aug. 8 declared the spread of Ebola in western Africa to be an international health emergency. The outbreak began in Guinea in December and moved into Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, the UN agency said.
The disease has killed 961 people since it was first reported, with 68 new cases reported Aug. 5-6, according to the World Health Organization. The Geneva-based United Nations health agency stopped short of recommending a general travel and trade ban, saying only that infected people shouldn’t cross borders except as part of an official medical evacuation.
Greater awareness of the disease is likely to lead to more patients coming forward to get treated, leading to higher numbers of reported cases, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said.