ebola in brazil
It’s not the first time that Brazil has suspected a case of the ebola virus from a traveler returning from Guinea. Above: A patient in Rio De Janeiro arrives at the Evandor Chagas National Institute of Infectious Diseases on October 10, 2014. The patient with suspected Ebola was tested for ebola after reporting a fever following a trip to Guinea. The tests came up negative. Officials are hoping for a negative result in this 2015 case as well, but are quarantining the patient and tracking his contact history as a precautionary measure. REUTERS/Mauro dos Santos

Brazilian officials shut down a section of a hospital in Belo Horizonte on Wednesday after suspecting that a 46-year-old patient might have the ebola virus. The man is being tested for the disease after he reported ebola-like symptoms and told doctors that he had recently returned from a trip to Guinea, one of the West-African countries that is recovering at the tail end of a devastating ebola epidemic. Ebola is highly contagious and is spread by touch. People who came into contact with the man are also being monitored, Reuters reports.

"We are at the [most reduced] moment of the ebola epidemic, which affected several African countries since it started. But that should not mean relaxing containment measures,” says Cláudio Maierovitch, director of Brazil’s Transmissible Disease Vigilance department, of the National Health Ministry, in an interview with Folha.

The worst part of Guinea’s ebola outbreak are over, but according to WHO officials the country is struggling to completely stomp out the disease. At least 2,500 people died in that country, just some of the tens of thousands of victims of an ebola epidemic that swept across West Africa starting in 2013. Guinea’s neighbors will be nervous until the country gets a clean bill of health: two life cycles of the ebola virus -- 42 days -- with no new cases.

It’s not the first time that Brazilian officials have quarantined citizens returning from Guinea. In October of 2014, a returning traveler was placed in isolation and his contact history was tracked. He ended up testing negative for the virus. The Brazilian health ministry has stated that the risk for ebola transmission in the country is low.

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