Ebola in Connecticut? 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Thomas Valcezak, Toni Harp, Yale ebola scare

Dr. Thomas Valcezak, Chief Medical Officer for Yale-New Haven Hospital, answers questions during a press conference at the Yale School of Medicine concerning a patient who had visited Liberia showing a possible symptom of the Ebola virus. (Arnold Gold/New Haven Register. Click here for more photos from the press conference.)

A day after officials announced that a second nurse in Dallas had tested positive for Ebola, a hospital in Connecticut announced that a patient was admitted late Wednesday night for “Ebola-like symptoms.” But officials said later in the day that the man, a Yale University graduate student who had just gotten back from Liberia, tested negative for the virus.

The patient was being treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he was admitted Wednesday night.

Hospital and city officials said at a 12:30 p.m. news conference that the patient was admitted to the hospital night after coming down with a fever, but the city’s mayor said officials didn’t think the case will “actually turn out to be an Ebola case.”

Here’s what you need to know:


1. The Patient Tested Negative for Ebola on Thursday

The hospital said in a “special statement” released Thursday morning that it has not “confirmed or ruled out” Ebola or any other diagnosis.

From the statement:

We have not confirmed or ruled-out any diagnosis at this point. We are working in cooperation with City, State and Federal health officials. There is no further information available at this time.

The New Haven Register reported that emergency room visitors had tweeted photos of a New Haven Fire Department haz-mat team suiting up outside the entrance to the hospital.

Hospital officials said the patient is in “good condition” as the hospital awaits a test result that will reveal whether the patient has Ebola. Test results are expected within the next 24 hours.

The hospital sent a letter to employees Thursday morning outlining the procedures that needed to be followed. WTNH-TV published the letter, which you can read in full below. (The pages are transposed, so the letter starts on page 2 and continues on page 1.)

Yale Ebola Letter

“All employees are expected to understand their role in supporting all patients, including those who have or may have EVD,” the letter says. Some areas in the hospital are more likely to encounter such patients.”


2. The Patient Is a Yale Grad Student Who Had Just Returned From Liberia

Monrovia, Liberia

A view of the Liberian capital of Monrovia from the back of a U.S. Marine MV-22 Osprey on October 15. (Getty)

According to the Register, the patient is one of two doctoral students at Yale’s School of Public Health had recently returned from Liberia, where they had been working with health officials on computer systems to help track the disease. The students did not come into contact with any Ebola patients or healthcare providers.

The Register reported that the students volunteered to go into isolation, but Yale officials decided the students did not need to be sequestered. From the paper:

The students originally had volunteered to stay away from work for 21 days, the maximum time for the virus incubation. Yale University School of Public Health Dean Paul D. Cleary wrote in an email that a “university-wide team of physicians, epidemiologists and senior administrators concluded that a 21-day sequestration was unnecessary.”

A city spokesman told the paper the patient was admitted to the hospital as a “cautionary measure” after coming down with a fever on Wednesday.

Two physicians and two nurses are caring for the patient.


3. The Patient Came Into Contact With the NBC Cameraman Who Has Ebola

According to the Yale Daily News, the patient came into direct contact while in Liberia with Ashoka Mukpo, the NBC freelance cameraman who was diagnosed with Ebola on October 1, a day before Mukpo began to feel symptoms.

Mukpo, whose father is a prominent Rhode Island physician and whose adoptive father was a world-renowned Buddhist monk, tested positive for Ebola just two days after he started working with the NBC crew. He then flew back to the United States, where he’s being treated in Nebraska.

From the Daily News:

A source familiar with the patient’s travel activities said the patient came in direct contact with NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who was diagnosed with Ebola on Oct. 1. The patient indicated that contact came the day before Mukpo developed symptoms, the source said. NBC declined to comment on the matter.

Ebola is currently believed to only be transmitted when a person is symptomatic.


4. President Obama Canceled a Trip to Connecticut to Deal With the Ebola Crisis

obama

(Getty)

The possible case in New Haven comes a day after President Obama canceled a trip to Connecticut, where he was scheduled to campaign for Democratic Governor Dan Malloy, who’s up for re-election, in order to hold an emergency cabinet meeting.

The Ebola scare could impact the race between Malloy and Republican Tom Foley, a businessman and former U.S. ambassador to Ireland who lost to Malloy by just over 6,000 votes in 2010. Polling has showed an extremely close race, with the most recent Quinnipiac University poll showing Malloy and Foley tied at 43 percent apiece.


5. Ebola Has Been Transmitted in the U.S. Twice

Nina Pham Photos

Nina Pham is one of two Dallas nurses to have been diagnosed with Ebola. (Twitter)

The only known cases to have been transmitted in the United States are those involving Nina Pham (pictured) and Amber Jay Vinson. Both patients are nurses who had been involved in the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who contracted the disease in Liberia but wasn’t diagnosed until he had flown to Dallas.

Duncan died October 8 , just 10 days after being admitted to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital to be treated for the disease.

Vinson had flown back to Texas from Cleveland, where she had been planning her upcoming wedding, a day before her diagnosis.

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