Man admitted to New York hospital for Ebola monitoring

People enter and exit Mount Sinai Hospital in the Manhattan borough of New York August 4, 2014.
PHOTO: Man admitted to New York hospital for Ebola monitoring

NEW YORK - A man was admitted to a New York City hospital Monday with symptoms similar to those of Ebola and was being tested though odds are he is not infected, officials said.

In the early morning hours of Monday, a male patient with high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms presented at The Mount Sinai Hospital's Emergency Department in New York City, said its president David Reich.

The patient recently travelled to a West African country where Ebola has been reported, he added without naming the country.

"The first thing we'd like to stress is that odds are this is not Ebola. It's much more likely it's a much more common condition," Reich said, noting that testing and confirmation with the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta would take 48-72 hours.

"But using an abundance of caution, we're going to work carefully with the CDC to make certain this person does not have the Ebola virus," he added.

The patient "was promptly isolated and placed in a strict isolation facility," according to Reich who voiced confidence "we could protect patient and also any staff and other patients in the facility and all visitors." According to an updated statement Monday by the UN World Health Organisation, at least 887 people have died from Ebola since the beginning of the year, after the virus spread across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Ebola-like symptoms include fever, vomiting, severe headaches and muscular pain and, in the final stages, profuse bleeding.

Kent Brantly, the US doctor infected with the virus, "seems to be improving," the director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control, where he is being treated in an isolation unit, said on Sunday.

A second American infected with the virus while working in Liberia is due to arrive back in the United States on Tuesday.

The Christian missionary group SIM USA said Nancy Writebol, 60, was in a "serious but stable condition" and was "expected to return to the US for further treatment on Tuesday".

She will be evacuated on the same plane that carried Dr Brantly, and will also be taken to the isolation unit in Atlanta.

Reich said that if the New York patient is found to have Ebola, he believes he can be treated at Mount Sinai, and would not need to go to Atlanta.

"We believe that the care that it could be provided here would be sufficient for any patient with that disease," he said.

Asked about the Ebola situation at a summit of leaders from Africa in Washington, US Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the United States was both watching and acting.

"Here at home, we're taking every precaution with the protections, protocols you've heard about, to make sure there's no problem here," he said.

And as for Africa, "I think you'll see over the coming days significant achievements being rolled out on our efforts" on health security," Blinken added.