Saudi Arabian Man Dies In Suspected Ebola Case, First Death Outside West Africa?

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Volunteers carry bodies in a facility run by Medecins Sans Frontieres for Ebola patients in Kailahun July 18, 2014.

A  Saudi Arabian man suspected of having the Ebola virus died in a hospital in Jeddah on Wednesday, the Saudi Arabia Health Ministry says.

Saudi Arabian officials have not yet confirmed his case to be Ebola, but the 40-year-old recently traveled to Sierra Leone and suffered from conditions symptomatic of Ebola, like high fever and gastrointestinal issues. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is sending samples to labs to confirm his cause of death. Officials are monitoring people he came in contact with and retracing his travel history.

At least 932 people have been killed and 1,711 infected since March in one of the worst outbreaks of the Ebola virus in history.

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday it would not issue Hajj pilgrimage visas to Muslims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – the three countries most heavily affected by Ebola. Just over 30 million Muslims across those three countries are potentially affected by the visa ban.

Officials in Nigeria have confirmed five new cases of the virus and a second death in Lagos, its capital of 21 million. Among the dead is a Nigerian nurse caring for Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American man who fell ill and died in Nigeria while on business.

WHO holds an emergency meeting with experts on Wednesday to decide whether or not Ebola constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). WHO and affected states are also coordinating a response using $100 million in recently acquired international funding.

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