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Iraq Doesn't Have Ebola, WHO Says

An Iraqi woman displaced by fighting, between government supporters and the Islamic State (IS) group, uses hot water to wash
An Iraqi woman displaced by fighting, between government supporters and the Islamic State (IS) group, uses hot water to wash clothes near shelters built for pilgrims but now housing internally displaced people (IDP) on January 5, 2015, in the Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf, about 160 kilometers south of Baghdad. Figures compiled by the Iraqi health, interior and defense ministries put the death toll at 15,538 in 2014, compared with 17,956 killed in 2007, during the height of Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings. AFP PHOTO/ HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) - No suspected cases of Ebola have been found in Iraq, despite reports to the contrary in Iraqi media in the past week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Describing reports of suspect cases of the deadly viral infection in Mosul as "rumor," the Geneva-based United Nations health agency said it and the Iraqi health ministry had conducted a full investigation.

"All sources contacted have negated the existence of any suspected cases of Ebola," the WHO said in a statement.

"The (Iraqi) Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization further confirmed that the laboratory facilities in Mosul do not have the necessary capabilities to diagnose and confirm the Ebola virus."

Reports of suspected Ebola cases appeared on Dec. 31 in Iraq's Al-Sabah newspaper, Rudaw online newspaper and on the Shafaq news agency and were relayed through other media in and outside Iraq, prompting the WHO and Iraqi authorities to investigate. (Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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