A British man suffering from suspected Ebola has died in Macedonia, it has been reported.
The unnamed man ‘s death was announced by a senior Macedonian Government official.
A second Briton had shown symptoms of the virus, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity is reported to have said.
If confirmed, the dead man is the first Briton known to have died in the current global Ebola outbreak.
The hotel where the man had been staying has been sealed off – with the authorities reported to be keeping another Briton and staff inside.
The pair travelled to Macedonia from London on October 2. The dead man was taken ill at about 3pm local time and died around two hours later, the spokesman said.
A spokesman from the Macedonian foreign ministry said: “I can confirm that a British person has died and he is in the state hospital in Skopje.
“We are looking to see what are the reasons according to the protocols of the World Health Organisation.”
Dr Jovanka Kostovska of the ministry’s commission for infectious diseases said the man had been suffering from fever, vomiting and internal bleeding, and that his condition deteriorated rapidly.
“These are all symptoms of Ebola, which raises suspicions with this patient,” Kostovska told a news conference, adding that samples had been sent to Germany for tests to confirm the cause of death.
“We can’t confirm the patient died from Ebola,” said Dr Jovanka Kostovska from the Department of Preventive Health Care at the Ministry of Health.
“The patient had a mild body temperature of 37.4 degrees Celsius when he arrived. That is not characteristic for Ebola.
“ However considering the rapid and severe clinical picture presented – vomiting, internal bleeding, and sudden and quick death, which are also symptoms of Ebola, suspicion among the patients was raised.
“Samples have been sent to a laboratory in Germany to find out which virus it is. Until then we cannot confirm anything. The results are expected to be available in 48 hours.
“According to the protocols in place for high risk diseases and as a result of the symptoms we are taking all necessary precautions. An autopsy will be carried out and material sent for analysis in international reference laboratory.
“Until the results are confirmed as is protocol in such cases the hotel where the patient stayed has a ban on entry of persons and has been quarantined as have medics who were in direct contact with the patient, pending the initial results, “says Dr. Kostovska.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the reports and are urgently looking into them.”
Meanwhile, another British man battling for life with Ebola is to receive an emergency blood transfusion from a doctor who has beaten the deadly virus.
Photojournalist Ashoka Mukpo, the son of an aristocrat, will receive plasma from American Dr Kent Brantly in a bid to boost his chances of survival.
33-year-old former LSE student Ashoka, who holds both Britain and US passports, contracted the virus in Liberia while working for American news channel NBC.
On Monday he was flown to the Nebraska Medical Centre bio containment unit, where he was met by doctors as well as his British fiancee and mother and American dad.
British nurse Will Pooley was cured of the deadly virus last month.
Britain has stepped up its role in the battle against Ebola by sending 750 troops to Sierra Leone to help tackle the outbreak.
A medical ship and three Merlin helicopters will also head for the West African country, where the situation is becoming increasingly desperate.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: “We all have to do more if we are going to prevent what is currently a crisis from becoming a catastrophe.”
His announcement came after the death of Thomas Eric Duncan – the first patient to be diagnosed in America.
To avoid a repeat, the US stepped up security checks at five airports and the UK identified four NHS hospitals ready to take Ebola patients if the virus arrives here.
The latest outbreak is the world’s deadliest with 3,800 deaths from 8,000 cases.
At a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, Mr Hammond outlined details of the British military’s role in the war on the virus.
UK and US troops, including engineers, logistics specialists and medical staff, will build and run Ebola medical centres and a World Health Organisation-led health training facility in Sierra Leone.
It is believed the measures will help the country treat 9,000 patients over the next six months.
Casualty-receiving ship RFA Argus, which boasts a 100-bed medical unit, will be sent to the capital Freetown.
The Merlin helicopters will be based off the coast and will help transport UK forces.
Mr Hammond said: “This disease is an unprecedented threat that knows no borders. We have to get ahead of this disease. If we get ahead of it and rise to the challenge, we can contain it and beat it.”
At home, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned it was “now entirely possible that someone with Ebola will come to the UK either by one route or another”.
Four NHS hospitals have been identified as units ready to take Ebola patients if the need arises.
London’s Royal Free Hospital, which successfully treated British nurse William Pooley, currently has the UK’s only high-level isolation unit.
But health chiefs have now identified hospitals in Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield as three others which could take Ebola patients if it hits the UK.
The Mirror revealed how Chief Medical Officer Prof Dame Sally Davies, has sent a five-page Ebola warning to every doctor, pharmacist and chief nurse in the country.