'Heightened Alert' over Ebola in New York

'Heightened Alert' over Ebola in New York

A patient in New York has sparked a “heightened state of alert” as authorities report he is in isolation and being watched carefully for signs of the Ebola virus.

The patient, who had recently been to West Africa, appeared in the emergency room at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan Sunday evening with flu-like symptoms and a high fever.

Once hospital staff learned the patient, whose name remains undisclosed, had just come from Africa they immediately put him in isolation.

On Monday, New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. spokesman Ian Michaels told The New York Times that hospitals in the Big Apple are “on a heightened state of alert.”

The Washington Post reported that last week another patient gave rise to fears of Ebola until doctors ascertained that the man had not been to any of the African countries known to have outbreaks.

Spokesman Michaels said, “a man returning from a West African country where Ebola has been reported was detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport for a minor law enforcement issue. During his detainment, the man got a sudden headache and fever and was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he was placed in isolation for consideration of Ebola, Michaels said. But within 24 hours, the man improved and was released.”

Apparently hospital staffers have been expressing worries for their own safety. Attempting to allay those fears, Mount Sinai administrators released a memo reminding them that Ebola can only be contracted from direct contact with the bodily fluids of the infected.

Authorities also hasten to say that no one in New York has been diagnosed with the virus.

Fears are being acted upon, regardless. The Centers For Disease Control have recommended that hospitals confronted with patients complaining of headaches and fevers ask if they have been to Africa in the last ten days or if they could have been in contact with someone with the Ebola virus.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.