Brazilian authorities on Tuesday cleared and released a patient from Guinea who was suspected of carrying the deadly Ebola virus.
It was the first suspected case of Ebola in Brazil, and the 47-year-old man, who entered the country Sept. 19, has been released from his treatment center in Rio de Janeiro and will return to the Southern state of Parana.
In a statement published on its website, Brazil’s Health Ministry said that “the state of Parana and the city of Cascavel have been notified they may halt the investigation into persons who had contact with the patient.”
The patient had presented signs of fever and was considered an Ebola risk because he had traveled from Africa but is now in good health, the government said. More than 4,000 people have died from confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in West Africa since the outbreak began in March, according to the World Health Organization.
When it was announced last week that the virus might have arrived in South America from Africa, racist comments appeared on social media and were reported by the press. According to a medical source cited by the local Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, the patient became aware of the controversy and asked to remain out of the media spotlight.
“The Ministry of Health repudiates all racist and prejudiced comments that were published on social media,” the ministry said. “Ebola has nothing to do with race or social status.”
Bevins is a special correspondent.