The first suspected case of Ebola has surfaced in Italy with a woman hospitalized for possible symptoms. A Nigerian woman resident in Italy recently returned from a visit to Nigeria and is undergoing tests to confirm potential infection. Results are expected within 24 hours and a positive test for the virus would mark the first confirmed case in Italy.
At this stage her symptoms are limited to flu like symptoms and as such we can assume that the Italian Health ministry is merely taking precautions to prevent future infections if the case is confirmed. Officials expect to have a result during the course of Wednesday. According to doctors she is currently in good health with no immediate signs of trouble.
Italy has responded quickly and full emergency health procedures were used the moment concerns were raised. The natural fear is that if she tests positive it could mean that during her first few days at home in Italy anyone who came into contact with her could be at risk. However it is currently believed that she had minimal external contact during this time.
Her husband has allegedly not been home during this period and officials are likely to clarify the exact status of the husband and his recent travel history if the case is confirmed by laboratories in the next few hours. Nigeria has to date confirmed 19 cases of Ebola and without a full understanding of the travel history of the woman it cannot be assumed that she is infected.
In the event that the case is confirmed the Italian authorities believe the chance for a full blown outbreak are slim given their quick response, skilled medical workers and generally good living conditions across the country.
UPDATE: Local Italian Media are reporting that the 42 year old has tested negative for Ebola, but positive for Malaria.