A British man suspected of being the first UK citizen to die of Ebola may have have told doctors he had caught the disease as a joke, according to a friend.
- Colin Jaffray, 58, is suspected of being the first UK victim of Ebola
- But his friend claims 'English sense of humour' may have played part
- Mike Smith was travelling with Mr Jaffray on business trip to Macedonia
- And is currently one of 27 guests being quarantined in Skopje hotel
- Macedonian authorities confirmed the dead man's nationality last night
- Had 'all symptoms of Ebola', but also been seen drinking 'large quantities'
- Public Health England investigating but believe death 'unlikely' to be Ebola
- The epidemic has killed 3,800 and infected at least 8,000 so far
Colin Jaffray, 58, from Royston, Cambridgeshire, was struck down with a fever, vomiting and internal bleeding during a business trip to Macedonia - and died in hospital yesterday evening.
Dr Jovanka Kostovska, Macedonia's head of infection control, said the married father of three had 'all the symptoms of Ebola' - but Mike English, who was travelling with Mr Jaffray, is not convinced.
The 62-year-old - one of 27 guests are currently being quarantined in the £39-a-night Skopje hotel - said he believes tests for the killer disease will come back negative, the Mirror reports.
He said: 'Colin had a very English sense of humour. My theory is that he joked, "Oh, it’s Ebola" and they took it seriously.'
Macedonian authorities are also investigating the possibility that he died after a drinking binge.
Yesterday, Mr English claimed that businessman Mr Jaffray was 'shaking' and 'confused' in the hours before his death but had refused to see a doctor.
He said: 'For two days he was saying he didn't feel good. He had fever but refused to go to the doctor.
'That morning he said he felt better. We agreed to meet downstairs at the hotel at noon. He called and said he didn't feel good, his hands were shaking. He was confused. The hotel staff then called for an ambulance'.
The 58-year-old Briton had stayed in his hotel room for three days with severe stomach ache but was rushed to hospital yesterday afternoon but died within 90 minutes.