Suspected Saudi Ebola sufferer dies of heart attack

A Saudi Arabian who had travelled to Sierra Leone and had symptoms similar to those found in Ebola sufferers died Wednesday of a heart attack, the health ministry said.

"The patient died of cardiac arrest, despite efforts by the medical team to resuscitate him," the ministry website reported.

It added that the man will be buried in the Islamic manner, but under precautions laid down by the .

The ministry did not reveal the results of tests carried out abroad on whether the patent had been suffering from the Ebola virus.

Since breaking out earlier this year, the tropical virus has claimed almost 900 lives and infected more than 1,603 people across West Africa.

The Saudi case was announced Tuesday by the , which said the patient had been quarantined in hospital in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

He was admitted after showing symptoms of haemorrhagic fever upon his return from Sierra Leone.

In April, Saudi Arabia announced a ban on visas for Muslims from the three West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone wishing to perform the pilgrimage to its Muslim holy sites.

The World Health Organisation began Wednesday a two-day emergency meeting in Geneva on the epidemic, with the UN agency deciding whether to declare it an international crisis.

To date, the WHO has not issued global-level recommendations—such as travel and trade restrictions—related to the outbreak which began in Guinea and has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

But the scale of concern is underlined by the WHO emergency session itself, since such consultations are relatively rare.

Ebola causes severe fever and, in the worst cases, unstoppable bleeding. It is transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids, and people who live with or care for patients are most at risk.

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