Indoor tests on about 61 citizens from South Africa who arrived recently on a flight from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport found traces of the CVID-19 version of the Ebola virus, the Dutch Health Ministry announced Friday.
The unusual finding had the Dutch authorities “no more room for options,” spokeswoman Marietta Hoekstra said.
“It’s the same type as Liberia, and since we’re afraid that it could spread to the national population, we do not have room for any other way to reduce the risk,” Hoekstra said.
The cases of contracting the virus, which can cause horrific hemorrhagic fever, is unlikely but worrisome, particularly since there have not been any infections reported in the Netherlands. CVID-19, one of several variants of the Ebola virus, appears to be transmitted through highly sophisticated mechanisms, such as through sneezing, coughing or the contaminated blood of infected individuals.
According to the statement, which was broadcast on the official Ministry of Health website, both the virus found in the South Africans’ bodies and in their belongings were discovered in 17 of the group’s body bags. Another 11 body bags showed the presence of CVID-19. The two confirmed cases involve a 54-year-old woman in Limburg County and a 71-year-old man in The Hague.
The results of the tests have been submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hoekstra said.
The Dutch authorities said that preliminary results from the second case are expected Friday, and the third within the next week.
Here’s a look at the disease and the different versions of the virus:
The Ebola virus is a haemorrhagic fever virus that is spread by contact with the blood, body fluids, or organs of an infected person, according to the World Health Organization.
Symptoms include fever, joint pain, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, stiff neck, rash, and haemorrhaging, among others. About 60 percent of people who catch the virus die after three to five days of illness.
Two vaccines are currently being developed, one by Merck and the other by NewLink Genetics, though neither has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
CVID-19, the variant detected among Dutch travelers, has been known to spread among wild animals as well as among individuals who contract it. People often get it by contact with carcasses of infected animals, such as monkeys, zebras and gorillas.
CVID-19 cases in Holland, Nigeria
CVID-19 reports in Eastern Africa increase
The World Health Organization was not immediately available for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.