UPDATED: Added a statement from Doctors without Borders (MSF). 16:50 hrs EDT
Normally I don’t report on suspected cases of Ebola since most will turn out to be false alarms, but since it is already all over the media, and the New York City Department of Health has issued a statement, I’ve reproduced it here.
October 23rd, 3:05 pm
Today, EMS HAZ TAC Units transferred to Bellevue Hospital a patient who presented a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The patient is a health care worker who returned to the U.S. within the past 21 days from one of the three countries currently facing the outbreak of this virus.
The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). After consulting with the hospital and the CDC, DOHMH has decided to conduct a test for the Ebola virus because of this patient’s recent travel history, pattern of symptoms, and past work. DOHMH and HHC are also evaluating the patient for other causes of illness, as these symptoms can also be consistent with salmonella, malaria, or the stomach flu.
Preliminary test results are expected in the next 12 hours.
Bellevue Hospital is designated for the isolation, identification and treatment of potential Ebola patients by the City and State. New York City is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all New Yorkers.
As a further precaution, beginning today, the Health Department’s team of disease detectives immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk. The Health Department staff has established protocols to identify, notify, and, if necessary, quarantine any contacts of Ebola cases.
The Health Department is also working closely with HHC leadership, Bellevue's clinical team and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim. Ebola is spread by directly touching the bodily fluids of an infected person. You cannot be infected simply by being near someone who has Ebola.
Via Pathfinder on FluTrackers, we have the following brief statement from Doctors without Borders regarding this case:
October 23, 2014
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) statement:
A person in New York City, who recently worked with Doctors Without Borders in one of the Ebola affected countries in West Africa, notified our office this morning to report having developed a fever. As per the specific guidelines that Doctors Without Borders provides its staff on their return from Ebola assignments, the individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately. While at this stage there is no confirmation that the individual has contracted Ebola, Doctors Without Borders, in the interest of public safety and in accordance with its protocols, immediately notified the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, which is directly managing the individual’s care.
At this stage Doctors Without Borders will not be providing any further details about its colleague.