Patient with 'Ebola-like symptoms' admitted to Connecticut hospital

Updated: 2014-10-17 03:05


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Patient with 'Ebola-like symptoms' admitted to Connecticut hospital

Two ambulances arrive at Madrid's Carlos III Hospital October 16, 2014. The ambulance in the front was carrying a person suspected of having Ebola, according to the police escort. Madrid's Barajas international airport activated emergency measures on Thursday after a passenger arriving on an Air France flight was suspected of possibly having Ebola, a spokeswoman for airports operator Aena said.[Photo/Agencies]

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut was evaluating a patient with "Ebola-like symptoms" on Thursday and will likely know within 24 hours whether the person has the deadly disease, a hospital official said.

The patient is one of two Yale University graduate epidemiology students who traveled to Liberia last month to advise the health ministry on using computers to track Ebola, according to Laurence Grotheer, a spokesman for New Haven Mayor Toni Harp.

"Yale-New Haven Hospital admitted a patient late Wednesday night for evaluation of Ebola-like symptoms. We have not confirmed or ruled out any diagnosis at this point," the hospital said in the statement on its website.

Dr. Thomas Balcezak, the hospital's chief medical officer, said at a press conference that fever was among the patient's symptoms and they were placed in isolation. Balcezak said the patient was in stable condition.

Balcezak said a specimen from the patient was sent to a state laboratory in Massachusetts Thursday and it would take up to 24 hours to confirm or rule out Ebola.

"We are treating this patient as though they do have Ebola and taking every precaution possible," Balcezak said.

The mayor, however, told the same press conference that it was doubtful the patient has Ebola.

When the two graduate students returned from Liberia, Yale officials earlier said they had not traveled into areas where Ebola was present. They initially asked the two to quarantine themselves for 21 days but last week rescinded that request, according to the university.

Liberia is among three impoverished West African countries - the others are Sierrra Leone and Guinea - where nearly 4,500 people have died in the worst Ebola outbreak on record. The virus can cause fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea, and spreads through contact with bodily fluids. It is not airborne.

A wave of citizens experiencing flu-like symptoms have called New Haven authorities with concerns they may be infected with Ebola, said Harp, the mayor.

"I think it's really important for folks to remember that we are in flu season," Harp said.

"If you haven't come from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, then you are likely to have just the regular flu."

(Additional reporting by Scott Malone and Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Susan Heavey and Grant McCool)