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New Zealand rules out first of three Ebola mailbox claims

New Zealand police today ruled out the presence of the deadly Ebola virus in one of three mystery vials discovered in mailboxes this week.

Tests on the two other vials have not yet been completed.

The vials were contained in suspicious packages sent to the US embassy and parliament buildings in the capital Wellington and to a newspaper office in Auckland.

Although no details have been released about what else was in the package found in the embassy mail room, the two other parcels contained documents claiming the blood-like liquid in the vials was contaminated with Ebola.

However, police said tests in Australia on a small bottle sent to the New Zealand Herald detected no sign of Ebola contamination.

“The liquid and the small plastic bottle it was in were among other items in a suspicious package delivered to the New Zealand Herald mail room on Tuesday morning,” police said in a statement.

“A document in the package suggested the virus was contained in the bottle. That assertion has clearly been dispelled.”

No details have been released on the forensic tests conducted on the package sent to the US embassy, which was removed unopened after an X-ray detected the bottle, or on the parcel sent to the parliament buildings.

Ebola has claimed more than 5,000 lives, almost all of them in west Africa, and New Zealand health authorities have stressed there is no evidence to suggest the virus is in the South Pacific country.

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