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Ebola Outbreak 2015 Update: ISIS Fighters May Have Contracted Deadly Virus

First Posted: Jan 03, 2015 02:53 PM EST
ISIS ISIL Islamic State syria

Photo : Zein Al-Rifai/AFP/Getty Images

Sick jihadis are being tested for Ebola.

ISIS fighters are being evaluated by the World Health Organization for the deadly virus. WHO is also checking a Mosul hospital 250 miles north of Baghdad for others who may be infected, according to the New York Post.

Mosul has been under ISIS control since June 2014.

However, Iraqi newspaper Al-Sabah reported the fighters do have Ebola and are being treated.

"The Ebola virus could be in any area in the world, including Mosul, where they don't have the measures or techniques to diagnose the virus," ministry spokesman Ahmed Rudaini said. "They are incapable to detect it." 

Though some Iraqi news outlets have confirmed cases of Ebola, the country's health ministry has denied the reports. 

"We have no official notification from [the Iraqi government] that it is Ebola," WHO director Christy Feig told Mashable.

If the ill patients are determined to have Ebola, it would be the first time an ISIS-controlled area has the virus. ISIS does not believe in modern medicine or science, making it a potentially problematic situation. 

"U.N. workers have thus far been prohibited from entering ISIS-controlled territory in both Iraq and Syria," said Benjamin T. Decker, an intelligence analyst for Levantine Group. "In this context, the lack of medical infrastructure, supplies and practitioners in the city suggests that the outbreak could quickly lead to further infection of both ISIS fighters and residents of Mosul."

In late December, more than a dozen Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workers were being evaluated for the disease. A sample of the pathogen was taken from one lab to another, and mistakes made by technicians possibly exposed workers, according to the CDC.

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