03/24/2014 05:26 EDT | Updated 05/24/2014 05:59 EDT

'Serious illness' reported after Saskatoon man returns from Africa

A man who recently travelled to Western Africa is "seriously ill" in hospital in Saskatoon, according to provincial health officials.

Officials did not immediately identify the nature of the illness, saying a diagnosis had not been confirmed. The patient has a "high fever", in addition to other symptoms, they said.

Saskatchewan's deputy medical health officer, Dr. Denise Werker, said Monday that the patient — who had arrived from Liberia — was being examined for a suspect case of viral hemorrhagic fever.

"Viral hemorrhagic fever is a generic name for a number of rather exotic diseases that are found in Africa," Werker said.

The illness was serious enough that officials wanted people to know about steps that had been taken.

"Measures have been taken to isolate the patient to ensure the illness is not transmitted," officials said. "Public health officials believe the risk to the public is low, and are investigating."