Saudi being tested for Ebola dies in hospital

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - A Saudi national, who fell ill after returning from Sierra Leone, died early Wednesday in his hospital isolation ward where he was being tested for the Ebola virus, said the Saudi Health Ministry.

The 40-year-old returned on Sunday from Sierra Leone, where there has been an Ebola outbreak, and was then hospitalized in Jiddah after showing symptoms of the viral hemorrhagic fever.

The patient's samples are being tested in an international reference lab on the advice of the World Health Organization. He had already tested negative for dengue fever.

Different types of viral hemorrhagic fevers have been found in the kingdom, but the ministry statement said no case of Ebola has ever been detected there.

Ebola, which has no proven vaccine or treatment, has killed nearly 900 people this year in four countries in West Africa.

Saudi Arabia announced in April that it was not issuing visas this year to Muslim pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as a precaution to avoid the spread during the hajj pilgrimage, which sees massive crowds of people from around the world gather in Mecca.

Saudi Ambassador in Guinea Amjad Bedaiwi was quoted in the Saudi Arab News Wednesday saying the decision affects a total of 7,400 pilgrims from those three countries.

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