Saudi man dies of suspected Ebola virus

His death marks the first reported casualty of the Ebola epidemic in the Arab world

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A Saudi man, who was hospitalized for suspected Ebola infection, died on Wednesday.

The man, in his 40s, had returned recently to Jeddah from a business trip to Sierra Leone, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. He was admitted to hospital on Monday and showed symptoms of Ebola virus infection.

His death marks the first reported casualty of the Ebola epidemic in the Arab world and comes as an emergency World Health Organization summit was being held in Geneva to discuss measures to tackle the epidemic.

Infographic: Ebola epidemic
Infographic: Ebola epidemic

The tropical virus has claimed almost 900 lives and infected more than 1,600 people in four West African nations since the current outbreak began in February.

The World Bank has pledged as much as $200 million in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone contain the spread of infections, help their communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis and improve public health systems throughout West Africa.

On Monday, the Saudi health ministry announced it will not issue umrah and hajj visas to pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia due to concerns regarding the spread of the Ebola virus.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for Ebola, but several are under development. Leaders from Sierra Leone and Liberia canceled their plans to attend a U.S.-Africa summit this week and the U.S. set up medical screenings for other officials traveling from those nations.

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