Possible Case of Ebola Virus in New York City
NEW YORK – HEALTH – Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City said on Monday that it has isolated and is monitoring a patient who had recently returned to the U.S. from a West African country for possible symptoms of the deadly Ebola virus.
The hospital said the man, whose age and name were not released due to patient privacy, came into the emergency room in the early hours of Monday morning with a high fever and gastrointestinal distress.
“Odds are this is not Ebola,” said Dr. Jeremy Boal, the hospital’s chief medical officer. “It’s much more likely that it’s a much more common condition,” he said.
Officials said they have sent samples from the patient to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and hope to have test results in the next 24-48 hours, “Although we can’t guarantee it,” Dr. Jeremy said.
The patient was rushed into strict isolation within seven minutes of his arrival at Mount Sinai Hospital.
The Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan in New York City encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and is acclaimed internationally for its excellence in research, patient care and education across a range of specialties. Situated between New York City’s affluent Upper East Side and East Harlem, Mount Sinai serves one of the most diverse patient populations in the world. It is a critical safety-net hospital for many in need, while at the same time leading in world-class translational research.
United Nations Update on Ebola
The United Nations health agency today appealed for urgently needed contributions to combat the deadly Ebola disease in West Africa, saying hundreds of doctors, nurses, health staff and materials are needed in the region “as fast as possible.”
World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Gregory Hartl said that this week is all about putting into practice the emergency response agreed upon by the head of the UN health agency and the presidents of the three affected West African countries – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – in a meeting that lasted more than five hours last Friday.
Mr. Hartl said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan and the three West African leaders agreed on an Ebola disease response plan involving three co-centric rings in the most-affected areas along their common border, such as Kenema, Lofa and Kailahun.
“They want to institute emergency measures to encourage people to stay in those areas and not leave in order not to spread the disease to other areas,” Mr. Hartl told UN Radio, and to do that, they will increase supplies of food and other benefits into that area so it is attractive for people to stay there.
He said that is why WHO and the three countries have launched an appeal for a $100 million response plan.
“We need many more contributions from the international community, from governments, from NGOs, academic institutions, from anyone who can provide us with doctors, nurses, health staff, and other public health staff,” Mr. Hartl said.
“We need materials. We need money, and this we need quickly and we need a lot of it,” he said. “We are looking at hundreds of international staff that we would like to get into region as fast as possible.”
Dr. Chan had given a bleak assessment of the Ebola outbreak in remarks to the West African leaders last Friday, saying they are confronted with “an unprecedented outbreak” of the deadly Ebola disease accompanied by “unprecedented challenges” as the outbreak was moving faster than efforts to control it.
But she also told presidents of countries affected by the most lethal strain of the virus that “when well-managed, an Ebola outbreak can be stopped.”
The WHO chief also announced that on 6-7 August, WHO will convene an Emergency Committee meeting in order to ascertain whether the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC) and, if it does, to recommend appropriate temporary measures to reduce international spread.
According to WHO, Ebola, formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, affects humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees). The origin of the virus is unknown, but fruit bats are considered the likely host.
“Once a person comes into contact with an animal that has Ebola, it can spread within the community from human-to-human. Infection occurs from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, or other bodily fluids or secretions (stool, urine, saliva, semen) of infected people,” according to WHO.
Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.
WHO says the incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.
What are the Dangers?
Ebola virus is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. Symptoms include: fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, lack of appetite, and abnormal bleeding. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus though 8-10 days is most common.
How is Ebola transmitted?: Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or though exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.