Italy quarantines four over Ebola suspicions

Number of quarantined patients in Italy reaches 17 after nurse infected with Ebola

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Ebola outbreak in Italy continues with the quarantining of four more people on the Italian island of Sardinia.

Four lab technicians in Sassari, Sardinia, started to show symptoms of Ebola on Monday. With the current four quarantined, the number of Ebola patients in Italy has reached 17.

The outbreak started with a nurse who worked in Sierra Leone tested positive for the Ebola virus one week after his return to Italy.

On Friday,13 people - including the ambulance crew who took the nurse to the hospital from the airport and the family members of the nurse - were quarantined as a precaution.

Because the nurse was examined in a hospital in Sassari first, the doctors and the workers were also put under surveillance.

World Health Organization (WHO) officials said that although the ebola-diagnosed nurse flew from Sierra Leone to Italy, they did not put the other passengers under quarantine because Ebola becomes contagious only after a patient starts showing symptoms.   

Sierra Leone is one of three West African nations at the epicentre of the worst outbreak of the disease on record which has killed close to 4,500 people since first appearing in the Guinean forest last December.

The virus has killed over 10,000 people in West Africa so far, with nearly 12,000 cases of the disease coming from Sierra Leone.

According to the WHO, a total of 868 health workers have caught the virus in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the start of the outbreak, of whom 507 have died.

One of the largest newspapers in Sierra Leone has reported that there are only four cases of Ebola remaining in the region.

Although schools have been reopened as life returns to normal, a minimum of 42 days waiting period needs to pass from the survival or death of the last Ebola patient in order for an area to be declared Ebola-free.

TRTWorld and agencies