A Manhattan hospital patient with high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms is being tested for the Ebola virus, officials said Monday.
The unidentified male Mount Sinai patient recently traveled to an Ebola-afflicted West African country.
He arrived at the emergency room Monday morning, has been placed in “strict isolation,” and is undergoing tests to figure out the cause of his symptoms.
On Monday evening, the Health Department deemed it “unlikely” that the man has the deadly disease — but they’re going through with the tests as a precaution.
“After consultation with CDC and Mount Sinai, the Health Department has concluded that the patient is unlikely to have Ebola. Specimens are being tested for common causes of illness and to definitively exclude Ebola,” the Health Department said in a statement.
New York City residents outside the hospital were anxious about the possibility of an outbreak.
“It’s scary, very , very scary,” said Lily Ayala, 58, who lives across the street from the hospital. “It’s contagious, and people out here don’t know about it. It’s bad because everyone just sits in the ER together. If you’re going to get it, you’re going to get it right there.”
A hospital worker said she saw colleagues isolate a patient earlier in the day — but she had no idea what for.
“I did see that they did have a patient that was separated,” the worker said. “But didn’t think anything because that’s not unusual.”
Another patient was isolated at Bellevue Hospital last week after arriving from a trip to West Africa with symptoms of the virus. He was screened at Kennedy International Airport and taken to the hospital. When his fever cleared up within a day, it was determined that he did not harbor Ebola.
“Health and Hospital Corporation facilities are following guidelines as issued by the CDC and have increased their awareness of possible Ebola symptoms,” HHC said in a statement.
Symptoms of the deadly disease include fever, red eyes, severe diarrhea, vomiting and internal bleeding, according to the World Health Organization. The virus spreads from the bodily fluids of an infected person.
Experts had said that an Ebola outbreak in New York or the US was very unlikely, but the feds were still looking out for possibly infected travelers exhibiting flu-like symptoms at international airports.
So far, three nations have borne the brunt of the outbreak: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
On Monday, Nigerian authorities said they have confirmed a second case of Ebola — a doctor in Lagos who treated a Liberian victim of the disease.
The Ebola outbreak death toll has reached a staggering 887, according to the World Health Organization. Over 1,600 people have been infected with the disease since it emerged in Guinea earlier this year.