With the entire planet now living in fear of the deadly Ebola virus, it seems the risky art of stomach smuggling comes with even more life-threatening potential than ever before. Over the weekend, a Nigerian man working as a drug mule was left for dead in a Madrid airport after several packets of cocaine exploded in his gut. He later died as a result of his symptoms being mistaken for an Ebola infection rather than a deadly overdose.
Reports indicate that when the man passed through customs following his flight from Istanbul, he appeared extremely ill, which led airport officials to believe that he was the latest victim of the Ebola virus. However, what they did not realize is that the man was a drug smuggler, and that many of the 50 packets of cocaine he was carrying in his stomach had burst, sending him into a fit of cold sweats and tremors.
The man lay on the floor, shaking for nearly an hour before emergency responders specializing in infectious disease came to his rescue — but they were too late. Disease experts discovered the man “unconscious with a weak pulse and suffering breathing difficulties” with blood around his mouth and on his right shoulder, according to the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo.
By the time specialists determined the man was not an Ebola risk and transported him to a local hospital, the toll of the coke overload had already set in. A physician told reporters that the man was pronounced dead 25 minutes after being admitted.
Incidentally, the man’s life could have been saved from the perils of cocaine overdose with emergency surgery, but the length of time it took for medical personnel to determine he was not an Ebola risk is what ultimately led to his demise. So far, the Ebola virus has claimed the lives of nearly 5,000 people, mostly in West Africa, since December 2013.
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