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Patient in Sweden being tested for Ebola, local hospital says

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Image: A woman and child wait to receive the Ebola vaccination in Goma, Dem
A woman and child wait to receive the Ebola vaccination in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 5, 2019. -
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Baz Ratner
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A hospital in southern Sweden said Tuesday it was testing a patient for Ebola.

Maria Josephsson, head of the department of infectious diseases at Skane University Hospital in Malmö, told NBC News in an email Tuesday that the patient they are treating was showing "symptoms of fever," which prompted the test, in combination with "knowledge about what regions the patient has been visiting."

"Ebola is not a likely diagnosis, but we cannot rule it out until we have a negative test result," Josephsson said, adding that they are following standard procedures and keeping the patient in isolation.

The hospital didn't share the person's gender or age, citing patient confidentiality.

Josephsson said the hospital will provide further comment when the patient's test results come back, without specifying when that might be.

A woman and child wait to receive the Ebola vaccination in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 5, 2019.
A woman and child wait to receive the Ebola vaccination in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Aug. 5, 2019.Baz Ratner

In January, another patient who was suspected of having Ebola in Sweden was given the all-clear.

Ebola is a virus that causes an especially deadly and virulent form of hemorrhagic fever. Patients bleed internally and usually die of shock and the effects of high fever, vomiting and diarrhea. There is no proven treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

The 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa was the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was discovered in 1976.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is now grappling with the world's second largest Ebola epidemic on record, the WHO said, with more than 2,000 lives lost and 3,000 confirmed infections since the outbreak was declared last August.