South Sudan’s suspected Ebola cases ‘test negative’

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Nichola Mandil BBC News, Juba

The authorities in South Sudan have said the suspected cases of Ebola in the north-western region have tested negative.

But samples were not collected from those who died from a yet to be established illness that sparked suspicions.

They were buried before a medical team from the health ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) arrived in the area.

Last week, the health ministry received an alert from Raja county in Western Bahr El-Ghazal State, after three people died from an unknown disease in Timssa area, near Central African Republic (CAR).

Three others were reported to be in “critical condition”.

“The ministry of health would like to inform the general public that the samples tested negative of Ebola and other forms of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers,” John Rumunu, director-general for health preventive services, told reporters in the capital, Juba.

“There is no Ebola virus in South Sudan and there is no reason to panic,” he added.

Dr Angelo Goup Thon, the acting director for emergency preparedness and response, said samples collected from critically ill patients that had returned a negative test result had been sent to Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) for toxicology analysis.

Results are expected in two days.