Havana: A Cuban man working in Guinea to help battle the killer Ebola virus has died of cerebral malaria, officials said.
Jorge Juan Guerra Rodriguez was working as an administrator with a team of Cuban medical personnel sent to West Africa this month to stem the spread of the virus.
The 60-year-old-man died of cerebral malaria in Guinea yesterday after he tested negative for Ebola.
"He was never in contact with treatment centres or with Ebola patients, but he was given two tests for Ebola, both of which were negative," said Cuba's health ministry.
Rodriquez was initially treated for severe diarrhoea, a symptom of both malaria and Ebola, before his health rapidly deteriorated.
"In the early morning hours... His health was worsening, and eventually he suffered multi-organ failure and died in the afternoon," Cuba's health ministry said.
The economist from Sancti Spiritus in central Cuba travelled to Guinea on October 6 and began showing signs of illness on October 22.
Cuba has sent a team of 256 health professionals - including 83 doctors and nurses - to Ebola-stricken West Africa to help stem the spread of the deadly epidemic.
The virus has already killed more than 4,900 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year, mainly children in Africa.
Both ailments have similar symptoms, including fever, aches, vomiting and diarrhoea, but Ebola is passed by bodily fluids, while malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes.
The island's response to the epidemic has won plaudits from humanitarian workers who say the international community's reaction has been lacking.
Eventually, Cuba plans to deploy more than 450 medical personnel in West Africa.