[UPDATE BELOW] A specially trained HAZ TAC unit transferred a young boy to Bellevue Hospital last night after he developed a fever following a trip to West Africa within the past 21 days. The Health Department has not disclosed the patient's name, age, or gender, but various media outlets report that he's a five-year-old boy. ABC 7 says he had a fever of 103. Here's what the Health Department just announced:
Last night, EMS HAZ TAC Units transferred a patient to Bellevue Hospital. The patient, a minor, developed a fever this morning while under observation at the hospital. The patient was in one of the three Ebola epidemic countries in West Africa within the past 21 days.
The patient was transported by a specially trained HAZ TAC unit wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The patient was not febrile when first examined at Bellevue. The patient developed a fever while at the hospital at approximately 7:00 am this morning. After consulting with the hospital and the CDC, the Health Department decided to conduct a test for the Ebola virus, because of this patient’s recent travel history and pattern of symptoms. The Health Department and HHC are also evaluating the patient for other causes of illness.
Preliminary test results are expected in the next 12 hours.
Officials say a team of "disease detectives" have begun tracing all the patient's contacts "to identify anyone who may be at potential risk." Sources tell the Post the boy returned from Guinea on Saturday and five members of his family are now under quarantine in their apartment. “He looked weak,” one neighbor said. "He was really, really out of it."
According to the Health Department, "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."
Update 6:15 p.m.: The Health Department says a first test for ebola has come back negative. Here's the full statement:
Today, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducted a test for the Ebola virus on a minor patient who had been transferred to HHC Bellevue Hospital Center last night. This patient developed a fever this morning while under observation at the hospital, and had been in one of the three Ebola epidemic countries in West Africa within the past 21 days.
The result of the test is negative. Out of an abundance of caution, further negative Ebola tests are required on subsequent days to ensure that the patient is cleared. The patient will also be tested for common respiratory viruses. The patient will remain in isolation until all test results have returned.
Because of the heightened alert, hospitals will be using enhanced scrutiny and an abundance of caution when reviewing questionable cases, and are meticulously following all public health and CDC protocols. The Health Department is also working closely with HHC leadership, Bellevue’s clinical team and the New York State Department of Health.