Shanghai health authorities have dismissed an online rumour that a Chinese who has been to Nigeria may have contracted the Ebola virus, a deadly disease that has claimed more than 900 lives in West Africa, according to Xinhuanet.com.
The man was admitted to Shanghai Pudong People's Hospital with fever symptoms on Aug 2, but tested negative for Ebola and was discharged three days later.
Local health experts and public security authorities warned the public not to spread rumours which could pose a bigger threat than an epidemic itself.
They also urged the local government to release virus information in a transparent and timely manner and to raise public awareness of the spread and prevention of Ebola.
To reassure Shanghai residents, the municipal health authority promised to promptly publish news about any suspected case of Ebola, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids, blood or tissue of infected people and animals.
"While we prevent a virus outbreak we should also spread truth and refute rumours," said Yuan Zhenghong, a researcher in the virus department of the Chinese Medical Association.
No Ebola cases have been reported in China. Large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing, which will host this month's Youth Olympic Games, have stepped up efforts in preventing an outbreak.