Ebola-infected Italian doctor's health worsens

ROME (AFP) - The health of an Italian doctor who contracted Ebola in west Africa is deteriorating, the specialist clinic in Rome treating him said on Saturday.

The 50-year-old infectious diseases medic - who has not been publicly identified - was repatriated on Tuesday from Sierra Leone with a fever and given an experimental drug to try to combat the often-deadly virus.

But since Friday there has been a "progressive aggravation" of the man's condition, the Lazzaro Spallanzani Institute treating him said in a statement. "He has started to have gastrointestinal problems (nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea). He has a high fever, currently over 39 deg C," it said.

The doctor - who became the first Italian to be infected with Ebola while working for an Italian medical association fighting the epidemic in Africa - was not showing signs of bleeding at this stage, however.

Ebola, a disease transmitted through the bodily fluids of infected people, can result in death from uncontrollable bleeding and organ failure. The current Ebola epidemic in west Africa - the worst ever recorded - has so far killed around 5,700 people.

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