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Man gets Ebola after stealing phone from infected patient

Erin Conway-SmithGlobalPost.com

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — We'd make fun of this crook, if only we didn't feel a little bad for him.

According to a report from the Sunday Monitor, a man stole a mobile phone from a patient in an isolation ward at Kagadi Hospital, in Western Uganda.

As it turns out, the patient was suffering from Ebola, one of numerous cases in a recent outbreak in Uganda. The patient later died from the hemorrhagic fever. But before dying, he reported the theft of his phone to hospital security, who began investigating.

Police detectives traced the suspected thief, age 40, after he began communicating with friends using the stolen phone. 

The Monitor reported that "as police zeroed in on him, he developed symptoms similar to those of Ebola and sought medication at the hospital."

“The suspect is admitted at Kagadi Hospital with clinical signs of Ebola," Dr. Dan Kyamanywa, the Kibaale District Health Officer, told the Monitor.

Ebola virus, which causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is considered one of the world's most terrifying viruses: victims tend to die bloody and painful deaths, bleeding from every orifice.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni warned in a televised broadcast that people should refrain from physical contact like shaking hands, casual sex and do-it-yourself burials to reduce the chance of contracting Ebola.

And from stealing cell phones, evidently.