Ghana testing blood samples of suspected Ebola case: official

ACCRA Sun Apr 6, 2014 6:49pm EDT

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ACCRA (Reuters) - Health authorities in Ghana are testing blood samples from a 12-year-old girl who died of a viral fever with bleeding in the country's first suspected case of Ebola, officials said on Sunday.

More than 90 people have died of Ebola in Guinea and Liberia and there is a reported case in Mali. Medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres has warned of an unprecedented epidemic in an impoverished region with weak health services.

Samples from the girl were taken from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana's second-largest city, to a medical research center in the capital Accra, Dennis Laryea, head of public health at the teaching hospital, told Reuters.

"We are working around the clock to confirm whether it is that (Ebola) or not and once we are able to confirm, we'll put all the necessary information out," Laryea told Reuters, adding that he hoped for results within 24 hours.

He said the girl died of a viral hemorrhagic fever, which could be traced to various diseases including Ebola, but declined to give details about her background.

"I must stress that at this stage it is just a case of fever and bleeding. The testing of the samples is precautionary," said hospital spokesman Kwame Frimpong.

The outbreak in Guinea is the first time the disease, epidemics of which occur regularly in Central Africa, has appeared in the country. Infected patients initially went undiagnosed for several weeks before tests confirmed Ebola.

On Friday, an angry crowd attacked an Ebola treatment center in Guinea, accusing MSF staff of bringing the disease to the town.

(Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Eric Walsh)

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