Man lied about Nigeria trip, Ebola symptoms at hospital

Man lied about Nigeria trip, Ebola symptoms at hospital

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A 19-year-old Taiwanese man suspected of contracting the Ebola virus after a self-proclaimed trip to Nigeria was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control's investigation (CDC) to have no record of leaving the country and no record of applying for a passport.

The CDC's Deputy Director Chuang Jen-hsiang said that the male patient's test results for the Ebola virus were negative.

According to the law, the CDC is able to fine the man anywhere between NT$10,000 (S$425) and NT$150,000 for lying and violating the Infectious Diseases Prevention Act.

The patient arrived at the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital (KVGH) on Dec 5 and said that he had symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. He told medical personnel that he had recently returned from Nigeria and had eaten a local meal consisting of raw bat meat on Nov 25. The student said he had taken over-the-counter medication for fever symptoms on Dec 3 after returning to Taiwan.

Hospital personnel immediately re-directed the patient to a negative pressure room and a medical team that consisted of five doctors and nurses cared for him.

KVGH's Director of Internal Medicine Chen Yao-sheng said that the medical team who cared for the patient wore protective gear according to standards set by the CDC. Chen said that their protective gear surpasses the level of protection used during Taiwan's battle with SARS.

On Dec 5, part of the emergency room, the patient's bed as well as his personal belongings were blocked off with yellow tape. Chen said that the hospital has since undergone a complete disinfection process and there no longer needs to be any quarantined areas.

Since Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids like vomit and human excretions, the medical team wore masks covering their entire face, a full body suit, a waterproof suit and plastic coverings for their feet, said Chen.

According to Kaohsiung's Department of Health, the patient had visited the Kaohsiung Municipal United Hospital (KMUH) before he went to KVGH. At KMUH, the patient refused to properly register and would not complete a blood test. KMUH was even in the process of transferring him to KVGH by ambulance, but he left the hospital without informing anyone.

Chuang said that if citizens have any questions about Ebola, they can call the infectious disease hotline for free at 1922.

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