Hong Kong quarantines, tests Nigerian man after he shows symptoms of Ebola

HONG KONG (AFP) - A Nigerian man is being tested for the deadly Ebola virus in Hong Kong, amid global fears over the potential spread of a disease that has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in west Africa this year.

A city government spokesman confirmed that the 31-year-old man is currently quarantined at a hospital and is being tested to determine whether he had been infected.

"So far as we know this is a suspected Ebola case. There will be results of the preliminary testing tonight," the government spokesman told AFP, adding the man is being treated at the city's Princess Margaret Hospital.

Local broadcaster RTHK reported that the Nigerian man had arrived at the southern Chinese city from his home country on Thursday and was vomiting before he was hospitalised Sunday morning. 

A previous report on the South China Morning post website saying that the man had tested negative was removed after less than an hour.

Last week, a woman who showed Ebola-like symptoms after returning from a holiday in Kenya tested negative for the virus.

On July 30, the Hong Kong government said it would quarantine as a precaution all people from Ebola infected areas who showed any symptom of the disease such as fever, vomiting or diarrhoea.

A densely populated city of some seven million people, Hong Kong is particularly alert to the spread of viruses after severe acute respiratory syndrome killed almost 300 people eleven years ago.

Nigeria along with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been hardest hit by the latest epidemic, which the World Health Organisation has called the worst outbreak of its kind in four decades.

Nigeria - the most populous nation in Africa - confirmed two new cases on Friday of the often-fatal hemorrhagic disease, bringing the total number of infections to nine, including two deaths.

The World Health Organisation has declared the epidemic an international health emergency, as countries scramble to impose measures to prevent any spread of a contagion that has claimed almost 1,000 lives.